Steve McClaren announced his decision today to drop David Beckham from the England squad. It isn't a permanent move or anything, but most likely we will not see Beckham suit up for the Three Lions ever again. It's sad really, David Beckham's place in footballing history will forever be one of question marks and what if's. If I had to liken him to any athlete in American sports it would have to be Alex Rodriguez. No matter what these two guys do, and as good as they are (and they are good, there is no questioning that) they will never be able to perform up to what their reputation and popularity demand. Because they are so famous and they make so much money, they are expected to perform on the level of athlete Gods, and the demand is unreasonable. Beckham's most famous moment in International play will always be the red card in St. Etienne against Argentina. Not his 94 caps, his captaining of two World Cup Quarterfinals squads, 17 international goals, or countless assists. Rather than point out that England's lone significant striker irrationally blew his temper, we choose to point out that Becks couldn't finish out the game.
Sure he was limping and in tears at the way it ended, but a real captain would have stayed on! (I won't even bother to point out the large number of international captains that missed significant games including Zidane's red card) Forget the tremendous amount of pressure that is heaped on the poor guy from the brutal English media, he gets paid enough that he should handle a bit of pressure! The man is a legend, and his performance in the 2006 World Cup CARRIED England. Let the haters hate, but the haters are extremely wrong, and I doubt their knowledge of football when they badmouth Mr. Posh. Nobody created more opportunities for England, in a ridiculously uncreative formation. I don't want to get into Sven bashing because I think he is a very smart manager, I just think he cracked under the English media though. His desire to escape the pigeon-hole that the media placed him in, as a dry, unchanging, uncharismatic manager, forced him into selections like Theo Walcott instead of people like deFoe. Sven's biggest fault is not his tactics or his brain for football, it is his inability to handle the intense pressure of the English media. Because of the pressure leading to the Cup, and the decisions he made due to that pressure; he was never able to address England's striker problems, or the problems England had in the midfield.
This article isn't supposed to be about World Cup 2006 though, it is about David Beckham, and the greatness that is leaving the right side of the English midfield. People forget his score from the spot against Argentina in 2002, or his cross that was so beautiful it could make a grown Geordie weep. Beckham's play is everything we are supposed to love about football, and somewhere along the way people took that from him. They discounted his on-field abilities because of modeling abilities. They forgot his cross, or his accuracy because of his wife. They lost faith in a man that Sir Alex called a natural born leader and the hardest worker he had ever seen, because he went to play in Spain. When we look back at David Beckham, let's look at the man who was easily one of the 10 greatest players you will ever see lace up the boots, not the man doing Armani ads.