England recalls Beckham for match against Spain

  • Associated Press
  • Saturday, February 7, 2009 2:56pm
  • SportsSports

LONDON — David Beckham’s strong play with AC Milan earned him a spot on the England team that will play Spain in an exhibition game Wednesday.

England manager Fabio Capello placed the Los Angeles Galaxy star among 23 players who will go to Seville to face the European champions, who are on a 28-game unbeaten run.

Beckham, who wants to join the Italian club full time, has scored two goals and started all six games since going to Serie A. Capello watched him play one of the games and is convinced the former captain is ready.

“Beckham is a very important player,” Capello said. “His form is OK now. I followed him in Milan. Now he’s fit. You know every player who wants to be in the squad has to play, not only training. It’s important to David; it’s important for us.”

Since he took over as England manager 13 months ago, Capello has stressed that players must be in top shape and playing competitive soccer if they are to be in his team.

Beckham played as a late substitute in all four World Cup qualifying victories but was dropped for November’s 2-1 victory at Germany. The Galaxy had failed to qualify for the MLS playoffs and his season, in effect, finished three weeks earlier.

Capello, a former Milan coach, would not say whether Beckham should stay in Italy or return to the Galaxy after his loan deal ends March 8.

“It’s David’s decision. I think he would like to stay at AC Milan for this season. The championship is exciting. Milan is a good team. But he has to choose. … I don’t speak about Beckham being in Los Angeles or Milan because it’s not my job.”

The owner of the Galaxy said he’s rejected AC Milan’s initial offer for Beckham. He wants the Italian club to make a higher bid or the 33-year-old midfielder will return to Los Angeles next month.

The decision by the MLS team was first reported by the Los Angeles Times on Friday and confirmed by team owner AEG.

AEG chief executive Tim Leiweke told the Times he would not consider an extended loan to Milan. Beckham is halfway through a two-month loan and said last week he wants to stay with the team. Leiweke said if no deal is reached, Beckham has agreed to fulfill his Galaxy contract.

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