Beckham on way back for England

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The Independent Football

The cameras will be snapping in Madrid this morning if reports prove correct that the England captain, David Beckham, is fit to resume training with his Real team-mates.

Two newspapers with traditionally good links to the Bernabeu club yesterday published stories assuring Madrid and England supporters that the midfielder will return to action in the scheduled morning session.

Beckham missed Real's 3-1 Champions' League win in Porto on Wednesday with a foot injury picked up during the 2-0 Spanish league defeat at Valencia last weekend.

Beckham was thought to be a doubt for England's European Championship qualifying match in Turkey tomorrow week, fears which even he could not ease on Monday, when he answered "I don't know," when asked if he would be available.

Real sent out encouraging signals that the injury to his right foot might not be as serious as at first thought and it seems that although Beckham was never going to recover for the Porto game, the club were always optimistic that the inflammation in the sole would die down for the visit of bottom club Espanyol this weekend.

"The aim is for Beckham to be available to play against Espanyol on Sunday," a Real spokesman said. "We think that is a possibility. It's one of those injuries that is painful, but not necessarily serious."

Real have other injury worries, with Zinedine Zidane having finished the Porto match with a bandaged head.

The Portuguese side took the lead after seven minutes when poor defending and a mistake by the goalkeeper Iker Casillas allowed Costinha to head home.

However, Beckham-less Real, who are favourites for the cup, won comfortably in the end, with goals from Ivan Helguera (28 min), Santiago Solari (37) and a volley from Zidane (66).

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