David Beckham gave the watching England manager Fabio Capello plenty to think about last night as he completed an impressive stint for Milan in a 5-2 win at San Siro. The midfielder played 75 minutes in the Serie A giants' thumping defeat of Genoa in his first game for the Rossoneri since rejoining the club on loan from Los Angeles Galaxy to help maintain his form and fitness before the World Cup this summer.
Milan's three points moved them back into second place in the table, but it was the ease with which Beckham slotted back into the side he represented 18 times last year that will have impressed the watching England coach.
Beckham opened the scoring when these two sides met last January and he was straight into the action this time, whipping in a cross from the right wing which Marco Borriello nudged towards goal, but Marco Amelia made an excellent reaction save to deny him.
Giuseppe Sculli gave Genoa the lead in the 25th minute, but a penalty from Brazilian forward Ronaldinho, who had missed an earlier spot-kick, brought the home team level. Thiago Silva gave Milan the lead at the break before two goals from Borriello early in the second half and a penalty from Klaas-Jan Huntelaar put the game beyond Genoa, who grabbed a late consolation through David Suazo.
Milan had an early chance to take the lead when Massimo Ambrosini went down in the penalty area as he attempted to take the ball past Giuseppe Biava. Ambrosini seemed to look for the penalty and perhaps it was a case of justice being done when Ronaldinho's tame kick was saved by Amelia. Beckham also had a chance after a quarter of an hour, but Ambrosini's pass forced the former England captain wide and his shot did not trouble the keeper.
Despite the hosts' dominance it was Genoa who opened the scoring through Sculli. But Milan were level in the 32nd minute when a well-worked move involving Beckham and Borriello put Ambrosini through, and he took another tumble as he nudged the ball past Amelia. Again, he seemed to be looking for the penalty, but Ronaldinho this time took the invitation to send Amelia the wrong way from the spot.
Thiago then put Milan ahead and Borriello got his name on the scoresheet to extend the lead early in the second period, tapping in Antonini's pass. And he was the provider of the fourth goal, too, sending the ball deep into the penalty area for Borriello to strike home acrobatically.
A fifth goal followed, again from the spot. Beckham seemed to want to take it, but Ronaldinho snatched the ball from him. In the end, Huntelaar took the initiative, and he made no mistake.
Beckham's work being done, he left the field to warm applause from an appreciative Milan support and an England coach with a possible selection dilemma to ponder.