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Last Updated: Friday, 11 August 2006, 13:47 GMT 14:47 UK
McClaren ends Beckham England era
David Beckham
Beckham won his 94th cap in the World Cup defeat to Portugal
David Beckham's England career appears to be at an end after new manager Steve McClaren left him out of his squad.

Beckham's name was absent as McClaren unveiled his first squad - for the friendly against Greece on 16 August.

"I told David I was looking to change things, looking to go in a different direction, and he wasn't included within that," explained McClaren.

The new England boss would not rule out recalling Beckham but the 31-year-old seems unlikely to add to his 94 caps.

Beckham said in a statement: "Having spoken to Steve McClaren this week I can fully understand that a new manager should want to make his mark on the team and build towards the next World Cup.

"I'm proud to have played for England for 10 years and my passion for representing my country remains as strong as ever."

He took the news very well, although he was disappointed

England boss Steve McClaren

McClaren said he had been impressed by Beckham's reaction on being told he was not part of his plans for England's future.

"I have great respect for David," said McClaren.

"He was a fantastic captain for England, a great player, and still is a great player.

"He took the news very well, although he was disappointed.

"I got the reaction I wanted, and the reaction was he would continue to fight for his place, and I will never close the door on that."

And McClaren was adamant that the decision to leave Beckham out of the squad was his alone.

"It was always going to be difficult. It was always going to be a big decision but I felt it was one I had to make," the manager said.

"It was very much my decision. I took advice on that from various people but it was my decision.

"It would have been more difficult if I didn't have the relationship and the respect I've got for him - and he for me."

The Real Madrid midfielder quit as captain after England's World Cup exit in July but insisted he wanted to continue playing.

Despite his omission from McClaren's first squad as manager, BBC Sport understands Beckham will not announce his international retirement.

606 VIEW

He made his debut in a World Cup qualifier against Moldova in September 1996 at the age of 21.

Stand-in boss Peter Taylor made him captain for a friendly against Italy in late 2000, a role he was handed on a permanent basis under Sven-Goran Eriksson.

Arguably the highlight of his England career came in a crucial 2002 World Cup qualifier when Beckham scored a stunning last-minute free-kick to make it 2-2 against Greece and send Eriksson's side to Korea and Japan.

He went on to skipper England 58 times, behind only Billy Wright and Bobby Moore (both 90) and Bryan Robson (65).

Verdicts on Beckham
11 Aug 06 |  Internationals
Beckham's England captaincy in photos
02 Jul 06 |  Internationals
Beckham timeline
11 Aug 06 |  Football
McClaren restores the passion
11 Aug 06 |  Internationals
Ashton receives England call-up
11 Aug 06 |  Internationals
Venables named England assistant
11 Aug 06 |  Internationals
Terry named new England skipper
10 Aug 06 |  Internationals
Beckham quits as England captain
02 Jul 06 |  England


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