A torn Achilles has David Beckham off the pitch for the next six months meaning the football great will miss the World Cup for England. Our experts weight on what Beckham’s absence means for England. [ad#as2]
Peter Howard: The English have the luxury of time on their side. They will have several months to prepare a squad without him than if such an injury were to take place during the World Cup when the squad is set. The remaining friendlies and training sessions will allow the team to prepare to compensate for his absence. Any injury to a national team player at this stage is going to be a blow, but if the English are going to end the World Cup drought, they need to build their plan without Becks. They are lucky to have the time to do that.
Frank Finnegan: Honestly, on the field, I don’t think this is a huge loss. I know Fabio Capello was likely going to take him, as a ‘leader’ and a specialist, but I really don’t know how much he would have seen the pitch. Secretly, Capello may be pleased to not have the pressure to take him and play him, opening up an extra spot for the younger wing players like Shawn Wright-Phillips, Aaron Lennon, James Milner and Ashley Young. The World Cup loses a big name, but I don’t think the event nor the England team is particularly going to suffer. He may have provided a cool head and another leader-type, especially with all of the nonsense swirling around that squad right now. As a US fan, it’s not like I’m privately turning cartwheels that he’s not going to face the US on June 12, because I don’t believe he would have started the match anyway. Still, though I’m not a huge fan of his, I’m sad for him – hate to see anyone injured, especially causing them to miss the World Cup. And at his age, a comeback from that injury is going to be a real challenge too – that is a brutal injury to rehabilitate. More than the World Cup, I wonder what his MLS future is – of course, right now, I’m wondering what the future is for the MLS itself.
Ron Patel: Beckham’s injury isn’t a big deal for the squad. He was never gonna start anyways. Had he been fit, the only question would have been whether he’d make the roster. England has plenty of depth on the right side of midfield with Aaron Lennon, Shaun Wright Phillips, Theo Walcott and actually, much more. Ashley Young can play there, too. Sure he would have given the team a good option off the bench, pinging those crosses in for the likes of Peter Crouch, but Stevie Gerrard and Frank Lampard can send those crosses into the box themselves. A World Cup without Beckham would seem a little strange, mind you, given he’s the most popular soccer player by far. Everyone knows him. He worked extremely hard to make sure he would get a look from Capello, and like most, I feel bad for the guy.
Alex Michaels: I think it’s a massive deal for the squad, for England, for Capello, and biggest of all, for Becks himself, of course. No player has been more dedicated to his country over the last 10 years, he’s always made himself available whether it’s been a major international or just a friendly, no matter where he has been in the world. He’s worked so hard to get back in the squad since the dark days of McClaren, and I really think he had a place in Capello’s squad this summer. Nevermind the set pieces, he passes the ball better than anyone in the world. He never goes hiding on the field when times are tough (unlike others in that midfield), and the other players play better themselves when he’s on the pitch. SWP’s end product is nowhere near in Beckham’s class, and with Lennon breaking down by the day, James Milner is looking favourite to take that spot for me with either Ashley Young or Stewart Downing as deputies. It would be a massive shame if this is the end of Beckham’s international career, but even he might struggle to come back from this. It’s a great shame and I’m truly devastated for him.