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Wednesday, 29 May, 2002, 11:40 GMT 12:40 UK

Beckham to cover up

England skipper David Beckham will cover up his tattoos in order to avoid offending his Asian fans.

The midfielder has decided to wear a long-sleeved shirt at the finals in order to make sure all his tattoos are covered up, according to the Daily Mirror newspaper.

The official sponsors of the England kit, Umbro, confirmed that the 27-year-old midfielder would wear a long-sleeved shirt despite the intense heat.

"We have given David, like all the England players, the choice between long and short-sleeved shirts," said a spokesman for the company.

"But he has chosen to wear the long ones for all the games, whatever the conditions."

Tattoos in Japan and Korea are associated with organised crime and it can cause offence to show them in public places.

Japanese officials have already warned England fans that it is frowned upon to take their shirt off in public, especially if they have any tattoos.

Beckham has a huge following in Japan.

More than 600 fans turned up at the airport when England arrived, with many wearing Manchester United and England shirts with his name on the back.

Beckham's tattoos include an inscription of his wife's name Victoria in Hindi on his arm and an angel on his back above the name of his son Brooklyn.

The England skipper is expected to start England's first match against Sweden on Sunday, despite suffering a broken bone in his foot last month.

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