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Last Updated: Friday, 1 February 2008, 11:49 GMT
Top managers give Beckham backing
David Beckham
Beckham's last competitive game was against Croatia in November
Premier League bosses have backed David Beckham's quest for his 100th cap after he was omitted from Fabio Capello's first England squad on Thursday.

Steve Bruce, Martin O'Neill and Harry Redknapp all hope the 32-year-old can still reach the century milestone.

And Arsene Wenger said he was "amazed by how good" Beckham was during his recent training stint with Arsenal.

Wenger said: "His experience will still be needed in big games. That's why I'm sure he will get his 100th cap."

Capello explained that he had dropped Beckham because of doubts over his match fitness, having not played a competitive fixture since England's Euro 2008 qualifying defeat by Croatia on 21 November.

But the Italian insisted the door was still open if the midfielder, whom he managed at Real Madrid, shows the required form once he starts playing again with his club side Los Angeles Galaxy.

Beckham can still make decisions and his experience will be needed in the big games

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger

Beckham has been working hard to stay fit by training with Arsenal before heading back to the USA to begin the new season with LA Galaxy, starting at the end of March.

And Gunners boss Wenger said: "He worked extremely hard. We gave him the first two weeks exclusively on fitness work.

"After (that) he was with us in and out but in the third week he was a lot with us. And we were all amazed how good he was.

Steve Bruce
Wigan boss Bruce played with Beckham at Manchester United

"Having worked with Beckham I must say one thing. He has worked extremely hard, that this guy will not give up and will continue to fight.

"The second thing I believe as well is that it would be unfair to Beckham to give him the 100th cap just because he's done well.

"This guy deserves a lot of credit, every day he was first out, last in and give him competitive games with LA Galaxy he will fight for his 100th."

Meanwhile, Aston Villa boss O'Neill told BBC Radio 5 Live: "It would be great for him to get 100 caps, he deserves to.

"I'm sure the chance will come around again. I take on board Mr Capello's view that he has not played for a considerable time and I know that the idea of just earning caps for the sake of it is not in Capello's nature.


"Having said that, if there is anybody in the last decade who deserves 100 caps for England then it is David."

Portsmouth boss Redknapp added: "I thought this friendly (against Switzerland on 6 February) would have been a great chance for David to get his 100th cap. He deserves it.

"He's been a terrific player. There is a problem because he's playing away (in America) now but I don't think it would have done any harm to play him.

"It would have been nice to give it to him in a friendly and if the manager then didn't fancy him we could have moved on from there."

Wigan boss Steve Bruce, Beckham's former Manchester United team-mate, remembers him breaking into the first team at Old Trafford.

He added: "I've known the lad since he was boy and I'm sure David won't give up the ghost and will still be determined to get that 100th cap.

"I'm sure many people will feel the way he's led the country and been a good ambassador and what he's brought to English football means he deserves it.

"I do sincerely hope he gets the opportunity to get 100 caps."

Martin O'Neill (left) and Harry Redknapp
Martin O'Neill (left) and Harry Redknapp both back Beckham

But ex-England captain Terry Butcher is not convinced Beckham will ever get to break the record.

Butcher, who has joined new Scotland manager George Burley's backroom team, said: "I think it's now unlikely Beckham will ever get to 100 caps."

"Capello is putting down a very strong marker by saying 'I'm not concerned about people getting 100 caps, I'm more worried about getting my squad right from the word go.'

"If David had joined the squad he may have actually felt a little embarrassed that he was only there for sentimental reasons.

"He hasn't played since October and he's not match fit. He's going to go away and play in a league which is out of sight, out of mind and it's very difficult to see whether he will ever get his 100th cap now."

And Sir Alex Ferguson has backed Capello's decision to drop Beckham, saying it was a "straightforward" decision based on his former Manchester United player's fitness.

Ferguson said: "I am not surprised he has been left out. What Fabio has said is that David is not match fit.

"He wants players who are match fit and David has not played any football.

"That is the reason he has not been picked. It is straightforward."

Ferguson added: "You have to think of Fabio's position. He has to win that game.

"It is an important match as it is his first as manager of England and he is a foreign coach with a great reputation."

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