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Gary Lineker believes England can cope without Beckham

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Big ask to come back - Lineker

Gary Lineker believes David Beckham's career-threatening injury is "not the end of the world" for England.

Lineker says the 34-year-old faces an uphill battle to fully recover from his ruptured Achilles tendon.

"It's sad David is going out this way, but it's not the biggest loss to Fabio Capello," said the former England star.

On-loan midfielder Beckham was hoping to feature in his fourth World Cup finals before being injured during AC Milan's match against Chievo on Sunday.

"It's unlikely Beckham will return from this, it's a serious injury if you're 21, never mind if you're in your mid-30s," said Lineker.

"But it is a position on the pitch that is well catered for. I don't think he would have been in the starting line-up, and it wasn't certain he would have gone anyway. He would have had to have been playing regularly for Milan.

"It would have been wonderful for him to play in four World Cups, but if it was Wayne Rooney it would have been much bigger."

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However, another former England striker, Alan Shearer, feels Beckham's experience would have been invaluable.

"I think it's a blow for Fabio Capello, and probably more importantly it's a blow for the English team because I certainly think he would have been in the squad and I think he would have definitely had a role to play," said Shearer.

Former Manchester United team-mate Ryan Giggs has backed Beckham to recover.

"Becks will obviously get the right care and have the right people looking after him and I'm sure if he does his physio, which he will because he's always been professional, he'll come back," said Giggs.

"The way Becks plays and the way he keeps himself fit, he'll be able to play for another three or four years."

MEDICAL REACTION

David Beckham's surgeon Dr Sakari Orava: "The operation went smoothly but healing takes a long time - so far everything is fine."

Sports physician Dr Tom Crisp told BBC Radio 5 live: "Surgery is never 100% [certain to be successful] after a rupture, although it is very close to it for some people.

"But in some people it doesn't heal well and it can be a career-ending injury - although that is a small percentage of people.

"Hopefully it will not end his career but it is a possibility."

CLUB AND COUNTRY REACTION

England manager Fabio Capello: "David is a great professional and has worked very hard to be ready for the World Cup, so missing it will be a big blow."

Football Association chief executive Ian Watmore told BBC Sport: "I'm very sorry for David - he has always put England at the top of his priorities and the fans love him for it."

AC Milan vice-president Adriano Galliani: "He will be out for probably five or six months.

"I saw him and he was suffering. In the dressing-room, I took him in my arms and told him that if he wanted, he will be with us next year."

Beckham's AC Milan team-mate Clarence Seedorf told BBC Radio 5 live: "It was a really strange moment [when Beckham went down injured]. He didn't show all of the pain. It was quite a shock when I came in the dressing room.

"He is a fighter. He is a strong guy, I'm sure he will look at the bright side of it, though he doesn't have a bright side at the moment.

"The most important thing for him is to get fit. He will need help psychologically to get back to his best over the next few weeks.

"Unfortunately, it's part of the sport, there are up and downs. Hopefully, we can win the Scudetto and he can share that triumph, because he has been part of that.

LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena: "Injuries are an unfortunate part of our game and they are even more disappointing when they happen to a player who was so close to realising his dream of representing his nation at this summer's World Cup.

"We will give David our complete support to make sure that he is able to get himself back to full health before he returns to the field.

"David remains an important player for the Galaxy and we look forward to welcoming him back to the club and assisting him in his recovery."

PLAYER AND MANAGER REACTION

Former England defender Martin Keown told BBC Radio 5 live: "This is a massive blow. He is probably the best player, technically, that I have played with in an England shirt, and we are going to miss that type of player.

"As a youngster I went to a major championship in 1992 - the European Championship - and we didn't have too many experienced players around, the senior players, and you need those types of players.

"Of course Beckham also has great ability, you saw him come off the bench in midweek, playing against Manchester United - his old club, and he was absolutely outstanding when he came on.

"Capello is not stupid, he knew there was a role for Beckham within the squad and this is a massive blow.

"I think he is going to be out for at least six months. He needs now to look at rescuing what is left of his career.

"If you look at the last couple of years, I think Beckham has hardly had a break.

"You wonder if all the flying around the world, around Europe and also across the Atlantic, has had a negative effect on his body."

Ancelotti hopes for swift Beckham return

Former England striker Andrew Cole, who was also Beckham's team-mate at Manchester United, told BBC Radio 5 live: "Rupturing your Achilles is a nasty injury and is really painful and it is a long way back.

"But I do not think he will want to retire on this note and I think he will work his socks off over the next eight or nine months, however long it takes, to get himself fit and play again.

"David's heart was set on going to the World Cup and I think he would have been selected in the squad.

"Every time he comes on for England, even in a substitute's role recently, he brings quality - his delivery of the ball and general ability.

"He will definitely be missed, even if his role would probably have been as an impact player."

Ex-England caretaker boss Peter Taylor, who handed Beckham the England captaincy for the first time, told BBC Radio 5 live: "Knowing David I would say that he will play football again, but this will take some getting over.

"One of the reasons he went to Milan was to work hard and get himself into the World Cup squad, so he will be very down. But I think he will bounce back again.

"I think he would have been a magnificent substitute.

"To know that he was on the bench, if you were chasing the game he could come on and put in crosses or a free-kicks - he would have been a great option for the manager.

Alexi Lalas, former general manager at Beckham's club LA Galaxy, told BBC Radio 5 live: "You never want to write off David Beckham as he has shown us his ability to bounce back.

"It is devastating for him and disappointing for football fans, not just England fans but any Beckham fans and also US soccer fans."



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see also
Beckham likely to miss World Cup
15 Mar 10 |  Football
Beckham's injury in photos
14 Mar 10 |  Football
Capello eyes World Cup semi-final
10 Mar 10 |  Football
Man Utd 4-0 AC Milan (agg 7-2)
10 Mar 10 |  Europe
World Cup beyond England - Hurst
06 Mar 10 |  World Cup 2010
England 3-1 Egypt
03 Mar 10 |  Football
AC Milan 2-3 Man Utd
16 Feb 10 |  Europe
Football on the BBC
11 Aug 10 |  Football


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