David Beckham still wants to play for England despite criticism

One top coach believes the former England captain has gone into semiretirement with move to Galaxy and that he's lost his desire to compete at the highest level. Another says MLS will only prosper if other high-profile stars play in America. However former captain David Beckham has not given up hope of resuming his England career.

Beckhamania showed no sign of abating Sunday, four days after English midfielder David Beckham signed a five-year contract worth a potential $250 million to play for Major League Soccer's Galaxy.

In England, where Beckham starred for 10 years with Manchester United before spending the past 3 1/2 with Real Madrid, three top-drawer coaches all had something to say over the weekend about his impending move to Los Angeles.

Sir Bobby Robson, England's World Cup coach at the Mexico '86 and Italy '90 tournaments, wrote in a column in the Sunday Mail newspaper that Beckham, 31, was going into "semiretirement" by joining MLS.

Robson argued that current England Coach Steve McClaren's decision to drop Beckham from the national team after the 2006 World Cup had sealed the player's future.

Manchester United Coach Sir Alex Ferguson said that because Beckham has spent most of this season on the Real Madrid bench it had "accelerated" the prospect of a move. A return to England, he said, was never likely.

Arsenal Coach Arsene Wenger said MLS must follow it up by adding other high-profile stars.

"Football will only take off if Beckham is not the only one," he said. "You need a few. A real influx of big stars, that's what will be needed if you want to create a big lift for American football. One player will not be enough."

The next to sign could by former Dutch international midfielder Edgar Davids, who has been dropped from the starting lineup by England's Tottenham Hotspur and is in talks with FC Dallas.

Other players who are the subject of MLS rumors at this stage include Brazil's Ronaldo, the Czech Republic's Pavel Nedved, Italy's Alessandro del Piero and, most far-fetched of all, France's Zinedine Zidane.

Meanwhile, Beckham spent part of Sunday watching from the Santiago Bernabeu stands as Real Madrid edged Real Zaragoza, 1-0. Coach Fabio Capello has said Beckham will not play for the Spanish club again, even though he is under contract until June 30, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Former captain David Beckham has not given up hope of resuming his England career despite agreeing to leave Real Madrid for Los Angeles Galaxy.

“I don’t believe it is the end of my international career because I have always said, and I will always say, that while I am still playing football I will be available to play for my country,” Beckham told Sunday’s News of the World.

The 31-year-old midfielder is due to begin his new career in Major League Soccer in August after agreeing a five-year contract with the Galaxy worth US$1mil a week, the biggest deal in world sport.

Beckham was dropped by England after the 2006 World Cup in Germany but still hopes to add more caps to his haul of 94, Reuters reports.

“Of course, I am (still) going to be available and if I get the call, then amazing,” said the former Manchester United player.

Source: agencies

Prepared by Alexander Timoshik

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Author`s name Alex Naumov