Leonardo lauds Beckham versatility

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The Independent Football

AC Milan coach Leonardo was full of praise for David Beckham after the England midfielder made a successful second debut for the Serie A club in last night's 5-2 win over Genoa.

Beckham started his second spell with the Rossoneri as a third attacker after Alexandre Pato was forced to pull out of the squad at the last minute due to injury.

The 34-year-old then slotted into the midfield after Andrea Pirlo, who had also been carrying a knock, was withdrawn in the second half.

Leonardo lauded Beckham's versatility, which provides several more options for the Rossoneri in the second half of the season.

"David has been training a bit in every position this week because we had a few uncertainties with small injuries, like Pato, (Clarence) Seedorf, (Gianluca) Zambrotta and Pirlo," said Leonardo.

"David tried every single role and I think this is what he is all about.

"He is absolutely open to anything and has extraordinary quality and an enormous tactical intelligence.

"He is going to help us a great deal."

Beckham lasted 75 minutes of his first game back with the Rossoneri after spending six months with the Serie A club last season, scoring two goals in 18 appearances.

He was withdrawn to a resounding applause having once again played his way into the hearts of the Milan fans, who have made the former Manchester United and Real Madrid man feel more than welcome.

"I am very happy. The fans were incredible," said Beckham.

"I am really enjoying this moment. Six months have gone by, but nothing has changed.

"I truly felt the warmth of the fans."

Beckham inspired Milan to a comfortable win last night, helping them climb above Juventus into second place - eight points behind league leaders Inter Milan with a game in hand.

Milan travel to Juve on Sunday and meet Inter a fortnight later in what is set to be a decisive few weeks for the Rossoneri, and Beckham does not feel the title race is over yet.

"Inter are a great team with a great manager and great players and they are obviously the team to catch, but we'll see what happens," he said.