Beckham can sparkle as England's wide boy

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The Independent Football

Beckham provided a succession of pin-point crosses into the penalty area that would have set up a far more comfortable victory if his team's forwards had been in form on the night. Real's coach, Wanderley Luxemburgo, has gone on record as saying he does not like his teams to play with wingers but, under pressure after a bad run of results, the Brazilian decided to station Beckham - who has been playing on the centre right of midfield - wide on the right and the move paid dividends.

Afterwards, Beckham said: "There are a lot of people who say I should play out on the wing, but I have always said that it is not important where I play as long as it is for the good of the team.

"But having played out there for so long, for nearly ten years with Man United as well as a few times out there for Real Madrid, tonight was a really good game for me. I got a lot of the ball and a lot of space and that's when I enjoy it.

"I'm not a player that runs at players and takes players on like a [Luis] Figo or a Ryan Giggs, but when I get the chance to cross a ball and I get that space I can put a ball where a forward wants it."

Beckham certainly did that on Wednesday. He served up the ball for his captain Raul to score a record 50th goal in the European Cup with a delicious cross in the ninth minute and kept the supply coming for the rest of the night. But it was not until four minutes from the end that Real managed to take advantage again when Beckham picked out substitute Roberto Soldado with another curling delivery and the reserve team striker headed home at the second attempt to give the nine-times European champions their first win in this season's competition.

"We could have been 10-0 up," said Beckham. "It's especially pleasing because we hadn't won a game in the Champions' League. We needed to win this game, we desperately needed the three points and that's what we got."

Beckham said his performance brought back memories of his Old Trafford heyday, but typically he refused to point the finger at the Real Madrid forwards for failing to make the most of the chances he provided.

"Sometimes because I whip the ball in so quickly on some days it doesn't come together like you hope. It was great when I was at United with players like Ruud [van Nistelrooy] or when Coley [Andy Cole] and Yorkey [Dwight Yorke] were there. They would just get on the end of all of them.

"It was the same tonight and it is great to see when I do put balls in that the likes of Raul and [Julio] Baptista get on the end of them."

Despite his performance on the right, Beckham says he was still prepared to fit in wherever required by Eriksson for the decisive World Cup qualifiers against Austria and Poland.

"With England there has been so much speculation about where I play, in the middle or on the right, or even whether I should be picked at all," he said. "But the most important thing is for us to meet up and put the work in.

"They are such crucial games for us. The first game is a must-win and if we win the second then we top the group. The manager is always the one who picks the team and decides where players play. If I can carry on playing well and carry this form into the England games then I can be satisfied I have done my job."

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