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Wednesday, 15 November, 2000, 12:14 GMT
Beckham aiming to lead by example
David Beckham
Beckham is trying to curb his temper
David Beckham's most infamous moment in football came at the France 98 World Cup quarter-finals.

In the intense atmosphere of the severest test a footballer can come under, the red mist descended on the Manchester United midfielder and a lashed kick later he was dismissed to the dressing room.

Although the incident is a blot on his career, Beckham is determined to learn from the experience in order to become future England coach Sven Goran Eriksson's captain marvel.


We all know Mr Eriksson will be in the stands, and if I want to keep the captaincy I need to make an impression on the rest of the players, the current coach and the one coming in.
  England captain David Beckham

England caretaker coach Peter Taylor seems convinced by Beckham's development after he gave Beckham the captain's armband for the friendly against Italy two years on.

A game being keenly examined by Eriksson, Beckham admits that he is not aiming to become an angel in his captaincy role but that he understands the responsibilities the position entails.

"I think that being made captain is part of the process of overcoming some of the stuff that I get involved in," explained Beckham.

"You cannot tell me that there have been great captains, like Bryan Robson and Roy Keane at United, who have not got embroiled in situations from time to time.

"I'm sure it will go on with me still because I'm that sort of player. I get involved in the game and want to win, and I'm sure it will always be there.

"But I am also aware that as captain I've got to try and calm it as much as I can because, as skipper, what I do will probably influence the other players."

He continued: "I want to be captain for the new coach (Eriksson), not just for these one or two games before he takes over.

Peter Taylor and David Beckham
Taylor and captain Beckham

"We all know Mr Eriksson will be in the stands, and if I want to keep the captaincy I need to make an impression on the rest of the players, the current coach and the one coming in."

Beckham has proved he is equally adept at producing a stunning long sweeping cross-field pass as courting controversy through losing his temper.

He became a vilified figure in England in the aftermath of his kick at rival midfielder Diego Simeone in France.

His reaction has been to get his "head down" and help Manchester United to the Champions League title in 1999 when they won the treble and finish second in the World Footballer charts.

An admirable response, he admits that the leadership qualities of Arsenal and England defender Tony Adams played a big part as he tried to resurrect his reputation. A development process he is aiming to continue.

He added: "If I want to keep the captaincy I will have to change my ways in a lot of senses because I'm usually a quiet player on the pitch, and you've got to get more involved and talk to the players.

"I certainly won't be one of those captains that shouts their mouth off like Tony Adams, Bryan Robson and Roy Keane, but part of the job is geeing players up.

"Tony did that to me after St Etienne. He was great to me and in the future, if I'm still captain, then players might need the same sort of comforting he gave me.

"It was the same United when, as a youngster, I could always go and talk to Bryan Robson and that's the sort of leadership I'll remember and which I've got to try and give to other players."

England play Italy at the Turin arena where Beckham was part of the Manchester United team which defeated Juventus 3-2 to reach the 1999 Champions League final.

It seems with that experience in tow, Beckham is already learning part of the art of captaincy.

He concluded: "Having played there before it's up to me to tell the players what it is going to be like."

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