Thursday, March 27, 2008

Beckham makes it 100

David Beckham won his 100th cap in England's 1-0 defeat by France in Paris on Wednesday.

Playing on the right-hand side of midfield, Beckham was booked for a foul on Franck Ribery and was replaced by David Bentley after 63 minutes.

France won the game through Ribery's first-half penalty.

Beckham, 32, becomes the fifth player to reach a century of England caps, after Billy Wright, Sir Bobby Charlton, Bobby Moore and Peter Shilton.

"Obviously I am very honoured," Beckham said. "When I started playing I never dreamt I'd get to 100.

"It is any footballer's dream to play for your country, let alone get to 100 caps, and I want to carry on.

"I am very stubborn and want to carry on for as many years as possible. I proved my fitness and that was the biggest thing. It was better than I thought it would be."

Beckham said the game at the Stade de France was a special moment for him, despite the defeat.

"I was very emotional even during the build-up to the game today," Beckham explained. "I kept getting messages from family and friends about it and I had to hold back the tears.

"It was an emotional moment for myself and my whole family. They have been there for me through the ups and the downs and there have been more highs than lows.

"Tonight was a high for me. We have lost the game and we are disappointed.

"But we held our own and we played well in the first half and I don't think we deserved to be 1-0 down.

"On a personal level, to play my 100th game for my country is something special and I am proud my whole family was here tonight."

Capello refused to be drawn on whether the LA Galaxy midfielder had a long-term future in his squad.

"Beckham was fit and he could have carried on playing but I substituted him because I needed to see other players," said the Italian.

Beckham made his England debut in 1996.

He became captain in 2000 and led his country on 58 occasions. He has played in three World Cup finals - in 1998, 2002 and 2006.

Whether Beckham could surpass Shilton's record of 125 caps is uncertain but he does feel he can still be involved come the 2010 World Cup.

"It is something I want to reach," said Beckham, who will have just turned 35 by the time the tournament in South Africa starts.

"I would love to play and be part of the squad in 2010. But I'm taking it as it comes - who knows what is round the corner?

"The combination of the players and the combination of manager and staff is setting us up right for the qualification games for the World Cup."

Despite Beckham's optimism, former England captain Alan Shearer believes it will be difficult for the former Manchester United man to play on for his country until 2010.

"It will be very tough for him to get to the next World Cup," Shearer told BBC Radio 5 Live.

"He is not playing in a great league, which may work against him, but it's up to David to keep impressing the new manager.

"We've found out that the new manager is not going to pick players on reputation.

"So it will be a big ask for him to still be playing, but we've said it many times before about David Beckham, so I wouldn't write him off."

Rio Ferdinand - captain for the match against France on Wednesday - paid tribute to his former Manchester United team-mate.

"Not many players get to play 100 times for their country so it is a huge honour," said Ferdinand.

"He has never stopped working hard, he has been a great servant and he fully deserves to win his 100th cap.

"Five players in the history of English football have managed that. He is with some illustrious names, some icons of the sport and he is a worthy member of that list."

England supporters in Paris for the game signed a giant congratulations card for Beckham.

Source: BBCi

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