By: Alex Baker
Carson, CA – David Beckham resumed training with the LA Galaxy Wednesday, for the first time since suffering a torn left Achilles tendon while on loan to AC Milan last spring. The former England captain looked fit and smiled as he strode onto the pitch to take part in warm-ups, stretches and calisthenics.
Following a twenty-minute warm-up the rest of the Galaxy split into two sides for a scrimmage game while Beckham worked on his own with a trainer. At the training session’s conclusion, Beckham took time to speak to the press about the Galaxy, the World Cup, his future with England and other matters.
Asked how it felt to be back in training, the player seemed very upbeat.
“Um, good. You know it’s been going well. But today was the first time I’ve put boots on really. I’m sure I’ll be a little bit sore tomorrow but I’m feeling good.
Responding to a question on how he hoped to impact the team for the remainder of the season, Beckham had this to say:
“Hopefully to add to the success we’ve had so far this season. Last season was, apart from losing the final, a successful season for us. We’ve got a majority of the players here from last season so it’s a good team to come back into.”
Beckham, who is recovering from his injury faster than he was initially expected to, is still going to be sidelined for a few more weeks. Nonetheless he will be travelling with his team to face the New York Red Bulls this weekend.
“I’ll be there but unfortunately I won’t be there to play because obviously it’s a big game for the guys. It’s an important game and also it’s a big game for the league as well. You know Thierry (Henry) and (Rafa) Marquez, and one of the best franchises is obviously L.A. and another one is New York.”
In regard to the arrival in MLS of other marquee players like former Barcelona, now New York Red Bulls duo, Thierry Henry and Rafa Marquez, Beckham was quick to respond.
“I think it’s great. Someone told me European players coming into the league is not a good thing because it doesn’t give the young US players a chance but that’s a load of, well I won’t say what it is. Because I think at the end of the day young players need players to aspire to and when they see Henry and Marquez coming in, you know you learn from these players. So I think it’s great for the league.”
Addressing the persistent rumors that his former AC Milan teammate, Ronaldinho was set to become an LA Galaxy player, Beckham had this to say:
“When I played with Ronnie he always asked me what it was like here, you know the game and what the Galaxy was like as a team. I’ve always been very positive. And you know he’s an ambitious player as well but at the moment he’s a Milan player. But if players like that show interest in coming to this league it proves a point to many people and hopefully that continues.”
Asked about his coaching role for England during the World Cup, the midfielder seemed quick to clarify, saying, “It was never a coaching role. I just played the part of liaison. I was never a coach. I love coaching kids but that’s as far as it goes. I don’t wanna be a manager.”
On the World Cup in general the Galaxy number 23 was more positive.
“It was a great World Cup to be at. You know there was a lot of people that were kinda worried about how it was gonna go, but it was perfect. It was one of the best, most successful World Cups I’ve been at. The excitement of the people was incredible. “
However he was somewhat less positive regarding England’s disappointing campaign.
“Obviously the England performance, everyone knows . . . It’s in the past now but still fresh in some people’s minds. With the fans of course, it was disappointing.“
Regarding his own future role with England the former Manchester United player seemed realistic.
“Who knows at the end of the day? I’ve always said that I won’t retire from playing for my country. Whether I never get picked again or whether I play one more game or ten more games I’ll be available. But there’s a lot of young, good players coming through with England so, you know. . . Like I said I’m available but we’ll see.”
Later that day, England manager Fabio Capello announced that Beckham would not be part of England’s qualification campaign for Euro 2012, effectively ending the midfielder’s celebrated career as an England international. However in spite of this it seems unlikely that David Beckham will be hanging up his cleats any time soon.
“I obviously love the game or else I wouldn’t still be doing it at my age as much as I am and as passionately as I do. Some people say at my age you kind of start not loving football as much as you did when you were 21. But I still do.”
Beckham is expected to return to action for the LA Galaxy sometime in October.