There is no topic for debate, no hard hitting decision for Fabio Capello to make and no need for England fans to be dismissive of his inevitable conclusion in the final squad. Beckham must go to South Africa this summer. Here are five key reasons why:
1. He’s still one of the best
He is still one of the most technically gifted English footballers around and can still make a difference to any game he is involved in with one stroke that gifted right foot. Added to the fact that he is still physically fit, playing for one of the best teams in Italy and soon to be playing Champions League football, puts him ahead of 50% of the rest who could potentially go.
2. Adds another dimension to any team
He may not have a change of pace, but he can deliver a ball on a sixpence and cover every blade of grass. Although he’s never received much credit for it either, he is surprisingly good in the air, winning headers and competing for high balls down the right flank. Beckham is able to control possession for the right hand side and has a wealth of tactical knowledge which allows him to be adaptive to any phase of play integrated into an international match and slow the game down when it’s needed.
3. Set pieces
O.k so England have a wealth of talent on hand for set pieces, but there’s just something special about the sight of David Beckham running up to take a corner of free kick. You know that there’s going to be an end product. The ability of a Lampard, Gerrard or Rooney are better suited not taking corners, which means they are freely available to pick up second balls in around the box and do what they do best.
There could potentially be a lot of players with little World Cup experience. Glen Johnson, Jermaine Defoe, Gabriel Abonglahor, Ashley Young, Gareth Barry etc. Even if Beckham isn’t playing, just having him there would be beneficial to pass on his knowledge and experience of the competition onto others if they ever need it. And that time will surely come. If England are going to win the World Cup, they need as much experience as possible. Just look how much Italy benefited from someone such as Del Piero, who by no means was the player he used to be, but who brought with him the sort of experience and expertise which can inspire confidence in others.
5. Hunger, desire and commitment
He wants to play for his country badly. He’s got all the money he could ever want and the life that many would dream of, but at the end of the day, he’s still got that little kid in him who wants to play for his country and that’s something that most footballers have lost sight with these days. But Beckham hasn’t. He’s done everything he can to get in this World Cup squad and deserves his place in it as much as anyone. Sometimes his desire is so great that you find him in positions he doesn’t need to be in, and this is something that Capello definitely needs to address. If Beckham plays a part, he needs to stay disciplined to his position on the right and not come inside to trample on the toes of the midfield. If he can do what he’s best at which is creating width on the right and delivering crosses into the right areas, then he’s going to be a threat to any team England come up against.