A nation woke up Thursday confronted by the grim reality that David Beckham’s competitive England soccer career has come to an end. And the player himself found out at the same time as his loyal subjects.
England’s national soccer coach Fabio Capello broke the news to the TV network broadcasting Wednesday night’s friendly victory against Hungary. In his not exactly fluent command of the Queen’s English, Capello dropped the bombshell in the following fashion in a pre-match interview: “I say thank you very much for helping me at the World Cup, but probably he is a little bit old.” And after the game, the 64-year-old confirmed he had come to this decision without informing Beckham. “Did I phone him before I went on television?” said Capello. “No. I think I will speak with him. We tried to speak with him.” (See pictures of David Beckham.)
After a disastrous World Cup campaign in South Africa (which, in fairness, the 35-year old Beckham missed through injury but nevertheless traveled to as part of the management staff), the coach is looking to youth to reinvigorate the country’s soccer fortunes. But Capello would like nothing more than for Becks to go out on a high, suggesting that, “If he is fit, I hope we will play one more game here at Wembley so the fans can say goodbye.” Were that to take place, NewsFeed is planning to patent the headline, “End It Like Beckham.”
From the Beckham camp, his agent released a statement stating David’s desire to carry on until his dying day (well, that was the implication). “For your information, there has been no discussion of retirement. He will always be available for his country, when fit and if needed he will be there.” Beckham has 115 England caps, more than any other outfield player and will probably be best remembered for the injury time equalizing free kick in 2001 against Greece that sent England through to the World Cup. (See a brief history of David Beckham)
As always, anything Beckham related gets picked up on by the great and the good. Prime Minister David Cameron got involved Thursday, paying a gushing tribute, before serving fair warning to Capello that, “I’ve learned a few things from this job in the first three months and one of them is let the England football manager get on with managing the England football team, and hopefully he’ll let me get on with running the country.”
Not for nothing do they say that the second hardest job in England is being Prime Minister.