Beckham: Capello's England more serious

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The Independent Football

David Beckham has backed Rio Ferdinand's claim that England are a more "serious" football team since the arrival of Fabio Capello.

Speaking before last night's impressive 3-1 win in Belarus which gave Capello's side a perfect record after four World Cup qualifiers, Ferdinand admitted the 'WAG' culture surrounding the squad had made it feel like a "circus" at times.

Beckham - whose wife Victoria, formerly 'Posh Spice', was arguably the highest-profile WAG of all - was the focus of most media attention at the 2002 and 2006 World Cups when his global fame was at its peak.

But he today admitted the renewed focus on nothing but football since Capello's appointment at the end of last year has boosted England's hopes of success.

"There's always going to be criticism of footballers - they're very high profile and paid a lot of money," he told Sky News.

"But the players I've played with in an England shirt and at the clubs I've been at, all they care about is winning and being successful."

Beckham added: "There is going to be criticism when you don't perform, but you take the rough with the smooth. Like Rio said, there's a lot more seriousness around the England team - and it's paying off.

"That's the way it should be - to be successful you have to perform well. It's not about anything else but the football and at past competitions it's been about other things that have surrounded the England team.

"Now it's more about us being successful in a big competition. It's nice to be part of an England team that's like this, that's so confident and doing so well.

"I hope we can get fans back excited about the England team, because we deserve it as a nation."

Beckham is confident England have the players to compete with the best international teams.

"In this England team at the moment, we've got players who are some of the best in Europe - some of the best in the world," he said.

"Steven Gerrard, for me, is one of the best if not the best midfielder in the world - and we've got that all the way through the team.

"Wayne Rooney's still 22, believe it or not, and he's performing like he did last night [when he scored two goals]."