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Page last updated at 14:28 GMT, Monday, 15 December 2008

Beckham needs games, says Capello


Wembley fear was 'all in the mind' - Capello

England coach Fabio Capello says Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder David Beckham must play competitively while on loan at AC Milan to earn an England recall.

Beckham, 33, will move to the San Siro on 7 January to try to stay fit during the Major League Soccer close season.

He was left out of England's win over Germany in November but could return for February's friendly against Spain.

"If he plays (for Milan) he will be a possible for us," said Capello. "If he doesn't play, he will not be with us."

Beckham will equal Bobby Moore's tally of 108 caps if he plays against Spain but Capello says sentiment will not play a part in any of his call-ups.

"It is the same for every player," explained Capello. "I check the players and speak with the other coaches, then decide the squad that way. Not with sympathy."

The most important thing is that he will be fit. The last three times he was not fit

England coach Fabio Capello on Michael Owen
Beckham was dropped for England's 2-1 win in Berlin because he has not played since the end of the MLS season in October.

His move to Milan is intended to help him regain his match fitness and keep him in the frame for England early in 2009 before he returns to the United States for the start of Galaxy's new MLS campaign in March.

After their match in Spain, England host Slovakia in another friendly on 28 March before taking on Ukraine in a World Cup qualifier on 1 April.

Along with Beckham, Capello has also reiterated that fit-again Newcastle striker Michael Owen still has a future with the national side.

Owen, 29, has scored 40 goals in 89 games for England but has suffered from a succession of injuries and Capello did not pick him for any of his side's four World Cup qualifiers in 2008.

However, the Newcastle striker scored against Portsmouth on Sunday to take his tally to nine goals in 15 games for the Magpies this season.

Capello missed the game because he was on holiday but said: "I know he played very well and scored a goal. I always said the door of the national team is open for all the players.

"I will check him in January and after that I will decide if he is ready, if he is OK for the next squad."

Owen is England's fourth-highest goalscorer but Capello says he must be convinced of his fitness before selecting him again.

"It is important, I have to choose depending on my idea of the team," added Capello.

These players are the future, and it is a bright future

Fabio Capello on Aston Villa trio Ashley Young, Gabriel Agbonlahor and James Milner
"The most important thing is that he will be fit. The last three times he was not fit."

Capello, who was appointed England boss on 14 December 2007, has won his last five games and says he is pleased with how he has lifted morale in the year since he took charge.

He stated: "The spirit of the squad has been great and this is most important.

"Without that spirit in the group, the confidence will not be there and it is impossible to win. Sometimes you can win one game because one player has scored a goal but without the spirit it is impossible."

And the England manager is confident his side have a bright future, thanks to the emergence of players like Aston Villa duo Ashley Young and Gabriel Agbonlahor on the international scene.

Capello added: "I am very happy for the players who play at Aston Villa. I also like James Milner, who is another young player. These players are the future -and it is a bright future."

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see also
Capello surprised by improvement
21 Nov 08 |  Internationals
Capello's winners and losers
21 Nov 08 |  Internationals
Germany 1-2 England
19 Nov 08 |  Internationals
Milan magic can revitalise Beckham
17 Nov 08 |  Internationals
Beckham and Barnes join 2018 bid
19 Oct 08 |  Internationals
Beckham hails impact of Capello
16 Oct 08 |  Internationals
Capello leaves door open for Owen
05 Sep 08 |  Internationals
Capello has concerns over England
02 Jun 08 |  Internationals
Beckham achieves century landmark
26 Mar 08 |  Internationals
Capello named new England manager
14 Dec 07 |  Internationals

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