David Beckham has succumbed to a torn left Achilles injury, with the 2010 World Cup just months away. This latest tear has led to tears for the popular England player. Whilst not matching the devastation of Beckham’s metatarsal injury back in 2002, when he was England’s most important player, again in a World Cup year, it is still going to be a loss to England Manager Fabio Capello as there is a lack of resources on the right side of midfield. This latest setback is a cruel blow for a player seeking to become the first English player to appear at four World Cup tournaments.
In the bigger scheme of things, losing Wayne Rooney would be a bigger blow to the chances of England winning in South Africa, but Beckham is the elder statesman of the dressing room and even if he might not have started many games, his sheer presence would have been calming and uplifting for those around him. In recent weeks we have had sleazy headlines relating to important members of the England team, which I don’t need to go over again. Part of the fallout of those well documented episodes, was the talk of how such role models should behave. In truth the offending people aren’t real role models, for such a distinction you just need to look at Beckham. Yes, Beckham has not always been a saint himself and got himself sent off at a World Cup for petulantly kicking Diego Simeone, yet he had the character to suffer the blows and re-invent himself. If anything Beckham-post 1998 became a better player.
There must be sympathy for Beckham, because given all he has achieved in the game and the fortune he has amassed, he was still striving to extend his career. He adapted his game to suit and whilst he has never been one for running past opponents, he was still the master of the wicked delivery. Whilst Beckham will miss out on this summer’s tournament, he might still get to that elusive fourth World Cup, not as a player but as an Ambassador of the England 2018 Bid.
By Laurence Coss