McClaren ready to recall inform Beckham

England coach Steve McClaren has not seen David Beckham play since he dumped him from the national team after the World Cup.

updated: May 31, 2007 14:34 IST
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England coach Steve McClaren has not seen David Beckham play since he dumped him from the national team after the World Cup.

With his job is on the line however, McClaren is ready to recall the inform Real Madrid midfielder to England's starting lineup.

Beckham is set to start in a friendly against Brazil at Wembley on Friday and in a European Championship qualifier at Estonia on June 6. England needs to win at Estonia to keep its chances of qualifying for Euro 2008 on track.

When McClaren took over the England coaching job from Sven-Goran Eriksson in August, his first decision was to drop Beckham from the national team. Beckham was seen as untouchable under Eriksson and his celebrity off the pitch was threatening to overshadow his form on it.

Now, McClaren believes Beckham has played his way back into the side.

"David is the fittest I have seen him for a long time," McClaren said Tuesday. "He showed a great hunger and desire to get back. He didn't moan. He just got his head down and worked hard. I don't know whether it is a question of proving me wrong but the statistics are there."

McClaren said he had followed the lead of Real Madrid coach Fabio Capello, who reversed a decision to dump Beckham from the Spanish team after he announced in January he would sign with Los Angeles Galaxy of Major League Soccer after his contract ends June 30.

"You've got to respect the work Fabio Capello is doing at Real Madrid," McClaren said. "He has had the same problems as me. He had no hesitation about bringing David back when he was on form and that has changed the fortunes of Real Madrid. I would be very foolish to ignore that."

Real Madrid is tied atop the Spanish league on points with FC Barcelona with two games remaining, chasing its first major trophy since Beckham's arrival from Manchester United in 2003.

Beckham fit

McClaren said the fitness level of the 32-year-old Beckham was impressive.

"After one match, Capello said David ran 15 kilometers (9.3 miles) and the next highest figure was 12 kilometers (7.5 miles)," he said. "In another he ran 80 yards (meters) in the last minute to create a winning goal.

"I have not made this decision for the fans, the media or anyone else. It is about form. I will stand or fall by that but anyone who has watched David closely over the last few weeks and months must understand why he is in the squad."