Monday, January 28, 2008

Beckham's PR Machine doesn't come with a "Match Fitness" setting

Don't cry for me, Argentina-beater...
[Photo Credit:]

Fabio Capello, in an unprecedented display of balls [other than the ones Mark Roberts regularly puts on show], is leaning towards omitting Beckham from his much-publicized first England squad for the friendly against Switzerland.

They might have shared a buddy-buddy history since their days together at Real Madrid, but Capello's not sold on the dog-and-pony show this time around.

The big question in Capello's eyes is Beckham's fitness; not only does he play in the MLS, but their season ended ages ago and a couple of photo ops thinly disguised as "training sessions" with Arsenal don't exactly pass for match fitness these days, and nor should they!

Beckham spends far too much time talking, and not nearly enough time doing. As I noted in the Point/Counterpoint on this sticky subject, Beckham's past it, and he isn't going to get better. I struggle to recall the last time he played a meaningful, influential full 90 minute game, and I'm sure that given his limited intellect, he'd be hard pushed to recall it too.

It's a drop in the bucket when you put it into context, but I give Capello some minor kudos for this course of action if it pans out [Fabio plans to meet with Becks next week to hear it for himself].

In the past, evidence of Beckham being able to walk in a straight line for 10 steps was normally enough to get him named to an England squad, so this is a refreshing change. Capello's been telling Brooking and Barwick at the FA that they won't have any influence over his squad selection, and this is the biggest indication of that to date.

Beckham can still take free kicks, but that's about it. Hopefully if Capello's going to give him the 100th cap any time soon, it'll be earned on merit and fitness instead of his smooth PR campaigns.

PS. Hirshey -- what does this say about Arsenal's training sessions?


Spectator said...

Those are all very good points. In fact, I'm having trouble recalling the next meaningful game that England will be playing. Oh yeah, now I remember! September 2008!

Precious Roy said...

I actually think this is a stupid move by Capello. The upcoming match is pretty meaningless. But now that Becks isn't getting cap 100, the issue doesn't go away.

So for the next side Capello fields all the "Does Beckham get his cap?" talk resumes. And then again after that, etc.

Put the guy on the field. Let him take the first free kick, and reinjure himself in the process. Then Capello can get him off the pitch and worry about making this Engerland team his (My suggestion: more Bentley, less Lampard).