And It’s Goodnight From Him…
August 13, 2010
Goodbye David Beckham.
The big footballing story of the week is surely Signor Capello doing the decent thing and closing the door on David Beckham’s England career. This isn’t an unexpected development and any serious football fan would have told you that Beckham’s time wearing the three lions ended on 14 March when, against Chievo, he crumpled in a heap in the San Siro cenre circle. A bizarrely ignominious end to a career saturated by bright lights and celebrity.
What do we make of Beckham’s enforced retirement? Well, he’s one of those rare players who genuinely splits opinion right down the middle. Personally, I’ve always had the opinion that once a player is judged incapable of lasting the full 90 minutes, they should be dropped, there’s no point in hanging around and there’s no point in sentimentality either. Capello was bought in because it was judged that England needed a firm hand at the tiller after the mateyness of Sven and McClaren. Complaining that Capello is ruthlessly dropping players is rather like complaining that is gets a bit dark at night time.
Predictably enough, once the “Brand Beckham” boys heard about Capello’s plan to cease picking their meal ticket they kicked into overdrive, insisting that their man would never retire from England and would continue to make himself available for England as long as was playing “competitive” football for the LA Galaxy (If that isn’t a contradiction in terms). This response can be looked at in two ways, it’s either hugley selfish, in so far as he should recognise his time is up and gracefully stand aside for some new faces, or it can be seen as a rather patriotic gesture, a man still prepared to lace up his boots for his country.
In my opinion, it seems that Beckham’s England career is summed up by a few exceptional moments, sandwiched by large amounts of mediocrity. We all remember his faultless performance against Greece in 2002, just as easily as we remember his sending off in 1998 against Argentina. We can remember his taking revenge against Argentina in Sapporo in 2002, just as easily as we remember the missed penalty in Euro 2004 against France, and the missed penalties against Turkey and Portugal.
We can balance the obvious pride and passion that Beckham had while representing his country, against the obviously selfish desire to unnaturally extend his England career beyond it’s usefulness.