Fabio Capello names his first England squad this weekend for the forthcoming friendly against Switzerland. There is eager anticipation to see which new players will be selected and which of the old guard will be left out.
However, not for the first time in relation to the national side, the name on everyones lips is David Beckham. Will his old manager at Real Madrid select him for this friendly?
The reason this is such a major talking point at this time of course is that Becks sits on 99 England Caps. He is desperate to join the 100 club currently occupied by Peter Shilton, Bobby Moore, Bobby Charlton and Billy Wright.
There are two questions to be answered here. Does Becks deserve to picked on merit? Does Becks deserve to be picked for the sentimental value?
The answer to the first question is probably no. The thirty-two year old superstar hasn’t played a league game since he came on as a second half substitute for LA Galaxy on 21st October. His last competitive game of any sort was the disastrous England defeat against Croatia when he also made a second half substitute appearance.
Whilst there is no doubting his ability, and his fitness should be good as he has been training with Arsenal since the turn of the year, there are other more worthy candidates for that role on the right hand side.
Following our awful qualification campaign for this summer’s Euros, we have to look to the future and the next world cup. It is very unlikely that Becks will be involved in that campaign, and younger players like Shaun Wright-Phillips, Aaron Lennon and Ashley Young need to be given a chance now.
In my opinion the answer to the second question is a resounding yes. Becks has represented his country with pride, skill and determination. His performances at the major championships have not been what he would have wanted, but injury has played a major part in that. Who can forget his cross for Shearer to score the winner against Germany in 2000, the part he played in the 5-1 win in Germany in 2001, his successful penalty against Argentina in 2002, and the way he took England to qualification single handedly in that match at Old Trafford against Greece.
Becks has been a humble and respected captain of his country for a long time. He has represented the world of football well at a time of scandal and intrigue. He thoroughly deserves his 100th cap.
The only person who can stop him from achieving this milestone is Fabio Capello. Does he seem like the sentimental type to you?