Thursday, March 20, 2008

Beckham recalled to England squad

David Beckham has been recalled to the England squad for the friendly with France in Paris on 26 March.

The LA Galaxy midfielder, 32, who has 99 caps, is in a provisional 30-man squad named by coach Fabio Capello.

Arsenal winger Theo Walcott, 19, has been called up for the first time since the 2006 World Cup finals.

Middlesbrough defender David Wheater, Portsmouth's Jermain Defoe and Aston Villa striker Gabriel Agbonlahor are also included.

Beckham was omitted from Capello's first squad, for February's 2-1 friendly win over Switzerland, along with Chelsea duo John Terry and Frank Lampard, who both return after injury.

But the former Manchester United and Real Madrid star was watched by Capello's assistant Franco Baldini in a friendly for LA Galaxy in Dallas at the weekend and obviously did enough to convince the Italians over his fitness.

Capello explained: "I always said that when David was fit he could be in the squad.

"I have had good reports on him from Franco, who watched him on Saturday night, and also from his club. I know a lot about David Beckham and what he can offer the team."

Galaxy general manager Alexi Lalas has no doubts about Beckham's sharpness and told BBC 5 Live: "David has played in all our pre-season games. He is healthy, excited and motivated.

"Every player wants to be called up on merit. As significant as it is to get your 100th cap, this is a situation where Fabio Capello is calling in a great player to help him with the task in hand.

"I can assure everybody that he is injury free and ready to go.

"We hope he stays that way not just for the game midweek for England but through our season which begins the following weekend.

"Hopefully he will get his 100th cap against France then come back to the US and continue with LA Galaxy as we start our season."

Source: BBCi

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