Beckham hoping to play 90 minutes: Coach

The English star appeared to be concerned about his left ankle several times, clutching it during training and having treatment on the pitch.

updated: November 27, 2007 11:59 IST
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David Beckham and his Los Angeles Galaxy teammates held a workout at the Olympic stadium on Monday before substantially less than the sellout crowd of 80,000 that is expected there for an exhibition on Tuesday night.

The English star appeared to be concerned about his left ankle several times, clutching it during training and having treatment on the pitch, but Los Angeles coach Ruud Gullit said Beckham "will play" - hopefully all 90 minutes - in the friendly against Sydney FC on Tuesday.

The former Manchester United and Real Madrid midfielder said he was just rearranging his clothing around the ankle.

Beckham later took a motor launch down Sydney Harbour to a pontoon set up in the shadows of the landmark Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge, where he kicked rugby balls, Australian Rules footballs and soccer balls in a sponsor's promotion with local stars from the other football codes.

Although he miscued a couple of kicks with the oval-shaped balls, Beckham showed no signs of the right knee and left ankle injuries that limited his first Major League Soccer season with the Galaxy to just five matches.

The Sydney match will be Gullit's first in charge of Galaxy and the former European footballer of the year viewed it as an opportunity to look at his new players.

"It's the first time for me to see where we can improve, for them to see what I expect from them and it's also good for us to get to know each other," Gullit said.

Beckham flew into Sydney on Sunday aboard a private jet from London, was expected to be the guest of honor at a reception on Monday night that had the city's social set clamoring for invitations.

Back on the pitch, Beckham will lead a Galaxy side missing five regulars - Mike Randolph, who is on the U.S. Olympic team, Kelly Gray, who is getting married, two players who are set to undergo hernia operations - Ty Harden and Kyle Martino - and Abel Xavier, who has a knee injury.

Xavier, a former Middlesbrough, Liverpool and Everton star, has been out of action since September. The Galaxy's season ended a month ago.

US international Landon Donovan said his side is taking the match seriously.

"It's our off-season ... we're not going to be as fit as we would be in a season, but that being said we're proud and we want to try and win the game," said Donovan.

Sydney FC coach John Kosmina said he may start several second-string players because his first responsibility is to the team's regular-season fortunes in the domestic A-League.

Sydney will be led by Brazilian marquee player Juninho and club captain Tony Popovic, but Kosmina said he was also considering playing under-23 Olympic team members Mark Milligan and Ruben Zadkovich.

Former Leeds striker Michael Bridges will not play after picking up an injury in Sunday's 0-0 draw with Queensland Roar.

Striker Alex Brosque has a thigh injury and likely won't play.

"Without meaning any disrespect to the Galaxy, this is a more stylized training session and it's a great opportunity to give a few of the young blokes an opportunity they'd never, ever have under normal circumstances," said Kosmina.

"There's a whole heap of people that have bought tickets for whatever reason. But they haven't bought them to come and watch Sydney."