Monday, March 15, 2010

David Beckham's England career over?

David Beckham's dream of playing in a fourth World Cup looks over after he tore an Achilles tendon in AC Milan's 1-0 win over Chievo on Sunday.

Beckham was unchallenged when he suffered the injury and hobbled off in pain before being stretchered away.

The 34-year-old was hoping to be part of England's World Cup squad in June, but instead will fly to Finland on Monday for specialist surgery.

"A rupture of the Achilles tendon is suspected," said an AC Milan statement.

Beckham, who is in his second loan stint with Milan from the Los Angeles Galaxy, will now almost certainly not be fit for the World Cup in South Africa which starts on 11 June.

Consultant sports physician Dr Tom Crisp told BBC Radio 5 live: "It's remotely possible he may be running in three months. The chances of him being fit to play for England are non-existent."


AC Milan vice-president Adriano Galliani said that the Englishman will be out for "probably five or six months".

"I saw him and he was suffering. In the dressing room, I took him in my arms and told him that if he wanted, he will be with us next year," said Galliani.

AC Milan coach Leonardo said: "Beckham's injury makes us feel terrible. He understood immediately that he had torn his Achilles tendon.

"He is an extraordinary guy and today's game proves it yet again. I cannot enjoy this evening considering this serious injury."


AC Milan team-mate Ignazio Abate said the England star was inconsolable.

"He's not doing well. He was in tears in the dressing room, he wasn't saying a lot. This has affected us all," said Abate.

Former Manchester United star Beckham, England's most capped outfield player with 115 appearances, was bidding to become the first England player to feature in four successive World Cup finals. He shares the record of three with Bobby Moore and Peter Shilton.

England coach Fabio Capello spoke with Beckham on Sunday evening to offer his commiserations, according to the Press Association.

And with Tottenham's Aaron Lennon still suffering from a groin problem, Capello may now turn to both Theo Walcott and Shaun Wright-Phillips to cover the right side of midfield, with James Milner, Joe Cole, Stewart Downing and Adam Johnson also in the reckoning.

Former England defender Martin Keown told BBC Radio 5 live: "Capello's not stupid, he knew there was a role for Beckham within the squad and this is a massive blow.

"He's going to be out for six months, he needs to now look at rescuing his career and what's left of it.

"He'll be extremely upset, without doubt. I think tonight is a very sad day for the Beckham family."

Beckham's loan spells at AC Milan were a deliberate attempt to convince Capello of his worth in an England squad, but he was an unused substitute in the recent friendly win over Egypt and was quoted in several Sunday papers as saying he feared for his place.

"Am I banking on going to the World Cup? No, not at all," he is reported to have said.

"I am not guaranteed to go to South Africa. I have to work hard and hopefully win my place.

"There are a good few months left and plenty of games to play, but hopefully I can carry on playing well and get in the squad."

Sunday's injury is the latest in a string of heartbreaking World Cup moments for Beckham.

His sending off against Argentina in the quarter-finals was widely blamed for costing England their chance in France in 1998.

Four years later he was not fully fit after suffering a broken metatarsal in his foot in the build-up as England went out to 10-man Brazil in the quarter-finals in Japan and South Korea.

In 2006, Beckham went off injured just after half-time in the quarter-final against Portugal which England went on to lose on penalties.

Beckham tearfully announced he was resigning the captaincy afterwards.

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