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Last Updated: Thursday, 31 March, 2005, 08:59 GMT 09:59 UK
Beckham repays Eriksson loyalty

England captain David Beckham
David Beckham has thanked England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson for continuing to show faith in him.

Eriksson paid Beckham a warm tribute before the game against Azerbaijan and the England captain responded with one of his best displays in recent times.

"The manager is like that with every player, not just me because I am captain and I came in for a bit of stick," he said.

"However, I certainly appreciated all of his comments."

Beckham, who scored the second goal in England's 2-0 win, insisted he had not listened to the criticism of him.

"It is not difficult (to deal with criticism) because, if you choose not to listen to it, you carry on with your life and football and carry on enjoying it," he said.

Who is Michael Owen anyway? What has he ever won in football?
Azerbaijan coach
Carlos Alberto
"You know when you have played well and when you haven't.

"My performance at Old Trafford (in the 4-0 win over Northern Ireland) was all right and I was pleased with it at St James' Park.

"But it is all about the team's performance.

"There was some satisfaction after hearing some of the comments after the last game but that's football - you have to take the rough with the smooth and play with a smile on your face."

Eriksson was also delighted with his captain's performance.

"David played very well, excellent. I think he played well on Saturday but he played even better tonight and scored a very important goal," he said.

Highlights: England 2-0 Azerbaijan

Interview: England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson

Interview: England skipper David Beckham

Interview: England midfielder Steven Gerrard

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