David Beckham has backed England to emerge successfully from a troubled Euro 2008 qualifying campaign and reach next year's finals.
Beckham has thrown his support behind England's players
Fans rounded on coach Steve McClaren in Wednesday's 3-0 win against Andorra and demanded the former captain's return.
Beckham said: "Qualification is very difficult but I'm 100% behind these players and this team.
"I was proud to see the way the players were fighting because it wasn't an easy game. It wasn't an easy atmosphere."
I've always wanted to play for my country since I was a young boy and that has never changed
Beckham was speaking at the Sport Industry Awards in London, where he was given an award for Outstanding Contribution to British Sport.
At the same awards evening, Arsenal were honoured with the Sport Business Achievement of the Year for the construction of their new Emirates Stadium.
And BBC Sport won the Best Use of Digital Media in Sport award for its World Cup 2006 website.
Beckham was given a standing ovation at the ceremony by figures from the sporting world, and later he praised the contribution of his successor as captain John Terry, and match-winner Steven Gerrard in England's 3-0 win against minnows Andorra in Barcelona.
"When you need a win you need your big players to come out and do it for you and we had that against Andorra. It was great to see.
"I can speak for the players because I've been a player with most of the lads out there."
Beckham, who received his award from Arsenal striker and his "good friend" Thierry Henry, added: "It's tough when you take criticism but the lads came through that and it was an important win. They showed a lot of strength and character.
"There will always be criticism in football but the lads rode it and I was proud to see captain John Terry standing up, as did other players around him.
"And of course Steven Gerrard won them the game."
Beckham also insisted he had not given up hope of an England comeback, saying: "I've always wanted to play for my country since I was a young boy and that has never changed.
"I'll always have that passion. Whether I do or not we'll see [but] the passion will always be there."
ENGLAND MANAGERS' FIRST EIGHT GAMES
MCCLAREN (2006-) W3 D3 L2
ERIKSSON (2001-2006) W7 D0 L1
KEEGAN (1999-2000) W4 D4 LO
HODDLE (1996-1999) W7 D0 L1
VENABLES (1994-1996) W5 D3 L0
TAYLOR (1990-1993) W5 D3 L0
ROBSON (1982-1990) W4 D3 L1
GREENWOOD (1977-1982) W5 D2 L1
REVIE (1974-1977) W5 D3 L0
RAMSEY (1963-1974) W5 D1 L2
Liverpool captain Gerrard admitted England were missing the goal-scoring of Michael Owen, who has been out injured since the World Cup.
He said: "We are missing Michael at the moment. It will be great when he is back.
"Michael is a fantastic goalscorer and he has got a great record at this level. Any team that has got Michael Owen fit and ready is going to be stronger.
"His record for England over many years has been fantastic and how many times has he come up with the crucial goal?
"We have missed him, of course we have."