According to The Times, Becks is set to return to England. No, we’re not talking about a sensational career turn-around for the ex-England captain, but rather an arrangement of opportunity: Beckham will be given the chance to keep his fitness level up during the Major League Soccer Winter break, and all reports seem to suggest he’ll be doing it with Cesc Fabregas & friends.
The Los Angeles Galaxy player has made his main objective to help England qualify for the next Euro 2008 championship, and by the same token reach 100 caps with the national team (Becks is currently at 97). For that reason, the ex-Manchester and Real Madrid midfielder had asked permission to the Galaxy to train in Europe during the Winter break, to which the Los Angeles club agreed. Beckham received proposals from Tottenham & Watford in addition to Arsenal, all clubs with training grounds close to Becks’ Hertfordshire residence, but has apparently accepted Arsenal’s proposal because of his good relationship with Arsène Wenger.
The only condition the LA club has imposed on the English player, is that he must report for duty for any friendly exhibition matches the Galaxy will be playing until February, the month in which the MLS will resume. They have also forbidden Beckham to go out on loan to an English club during the break, which prompted Becks to find this alternative solution.
It must be noted however that England’s chances, and by the same token Becks’ hopes of reaching the century mark (Beckham would then become only the 5th Englishman to reach a century of international caps), are hanging by a very thin thread, as adequately summarized by The Times’ Chief Sports Correspondent, Matt Dickinson:
Beckham’s fate, like that of England’s coach Steve McClaren, depends heavily on the result between Russia and Israel in the Euro 2008 qualifying tie in Tel Aviv Saturday night. Victory for Russia will probably end McClaren’s tenure — and with it Beckham’s international career. (…) If Russia fail to win however and England beat Croatia at Wembley next week, Beckham would expect to be involved at Euro 2008.
(…) Beckham’s eagerness to train through the winter months may wane if McClaren is out of a job by next Thursday morning. It is hard to see a new England manager involving the former captain in his plans for the 2010 World Cup, given the player’s age and the complications that come from being based on the West Coast of the United States.
Note that the game England vs. Croatia (21 Nov 07) will be blogged live here on Soccerlens if Israel get at least a point against Russia on 17 Nov 07. For a preview of the game, check out our England v Croatia, Euro 2008 Qualifier post.
Marco Pantanella writes for the mCalcio blog