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Last Updated: Friday, 11 August 2006, 14:14 GMT 15:14 UK
Verdicts on Beckham
Following David Beckham's omission from the latest England squad, we get reflections on his international career from a former England captain, and from fans on our 606 message board.

VIEW FROM INSIDE THE GAME

Jimmy Armfield
By Jimmy Armfield
BBC pundit and former England skipper

What you have to remember about David Beckham is that despite all the image, profile, and everything that surrounded him, he was a footballer, first and foremost - and a great one at that.

He set off, when he was a lad in Essex, wanting to be a footballer and that never changed. Everything else came from that later.

Former England captain David Beckham
Beckham was proud to captain his country
He's always been in a high-profile scenario and you can't get away from that, but it came from him being a footballer.

As a player he was the best dead-ball specialist England ever had, certainly in my lifetime.

I don't think I have ever seen a better one and that included all the players I played against such as Pele, Garrincha and Ferenc Puskas, all great free-kick takers but none were better than Beckham.

That was his forte, and he was always a good passer of the ball as opposed to Ryan Giggs at Manchester United who was a runner.

ENGLAND HIGHS AND LOWS
Sep 1996 Makes England debut v Moldova
Jun 1998 Picked for World Cup squad and scores first England goal v Colombia
Jun 1998 Sent off as England lose to Argentina on penalties
Nov 2000 Appointed England captain for first time by stand-in boss Peter Taylor. Later made permanent skipper by Sven-Goran Eriksson
Oct 2001 Score last-minute equaliser v Greece, ensuring England qualify for World Cup
Jun 2002 Makes rapid recovery from broken foot to take part in World Cup but well below his best as England go out to Brazil in the last eight
Jun 2004 Blazes penalty over the bar as England lose a shoot-out to Portugal in the Euro 2004 quarter-finals
Nov 2005 Captains England for 50th time in friendly win over Argentina
Jun 2006 Limps out of England's defeat to Portugal in World Cup quarter-finals. Announces resignation as captain the following day
Aug 2006 Dropped from new boss Steve McClaren's first England squad

He brought a profile with him to the England team. I don't think I have ever seen an England player with such a high profile. It was a Beckham phenomenon, in the Far East particularly, where he was treated like a pop star.

But he had good family values and although a lot of people tried to do him down he survived all of that and his image was good for England.

Of course, he will always be remembered towards the latter part of his England career as Sven-Goran Eriksson's favoured man but he was more than that.

I don't think it was a case of either needing the other, it was a marriage that worked well.

I think he possibly felt his time had come, certainly when you say you have finished with the captaincy.

Normally you have the captaincy taken away from you. I lost it because I was injured to Bobby Moore.

David Beckham pre-empted that and I can't think of any other England captain who has resigned.

606 VIEW
RK
Steve McClaren wants to make some sort of break from the Eriksson regime, but will find it difficult as he was Eriksson's right-hand man for so long.

But in leaving David Beckham out I don't think he's necessarily making a statement just yet - this is only a friendly.

In football, you can never say never, and his international career might not yet be over.

Let's see what team Steve McClaren puts out when we play the competitive games in the European Championship qualifying matches.

VIEW FROM THE FANS

Members of the 606 message board have been giving their views too, here is a selection of what they have said so far:

MCCLAREN'S RIGHT

JD: I think McClaren's done well so far. He's made JT his captain, is bringing in Venables as his advisor, and has shown that he doesn't hold Beckham as sacred, as his predecessor did. Fair play to him.

TH: It is absolutely the right thing to do. England as a team won't make any progress on their utterly dismal performances until the circus that surrounds them is removed.

LG: : I'll be honest, I wasn't over enthused by McClaren's appointment but he's made a couple of key decisions that can only be good for England, leaving Beckham out was exactly the right thing to do.

RK: It's the best news that England have had in ages - it's about time SOMEBODY realised that Beckham is past his peak.

AL: Beckham's over the hill, it's time for new blood. What would McClaren gain from keeping him in the squad knowing he's going to be 33 at Euro 2008?

MCCLAREN'S WRONG

NS: This is pathetic. Now that Beckham isn't captain all respect for him is lost. He is still the best passer in the world and being the captain for so long, he adds maturity to the team. He is a great player and should play.

WI: Is David Beckham not one of the best players in the world? Why on earth would any manager leave him out of their squad?

PD: I think this is a bad sign for the English football team. This shows that McLaren is not thinking about the football team itself but trying to get the general public's vote by dropping Beckham - which was widely called for.

PV: I think that David Beckham should definitely be kept in the squad. Everyone goes on about how Wayne Rooney is the best in the squad, but without Beckham, the squad has instantly lost 50% of its feed to the strikers.

FG: Beckham's not a bad player at all, he didn't have a very good World Cup but who did? His form for one of the biggest sides in the world is consistently good. To drop him seems stupid!



SEE ALSO
McClaren restores the passion
11 Aug 06 |  Internationals
McClaren ends Beckham England era
11 Aug 06 |  Internationals
Beckham timeline
11 Aug 06 |  Football
Beckham's England captaincy in photos
02 Jul 06 |  Internationals
Terry named new England skipper
10 Aug 06 |  Internationals
Beckham quits as England captain
02 Jul 06 |  England


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