Beckham set to shun Europe to regain fitness

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David Beckham has admitted it is highly unlikely he will play in Europe again this season. The England midfielder has spent two loan spells at Milan in the last two years after the end of the Major League Soccer season in the USA. Beckham, 35, says that it is unlikely he will pursue a similar move this time as he needs to get back to full fitness after his ruptured Achilles. He returned to action earlier this month for his MLS club the Los Angeles Galaxy.

Asked about returning to Europe on loan again, Beckham told www.fifa.com: "I don't think so. I'll never say never, but after my injury I need to really focus on getting my full fitness back. Physically I need to get myself back in order after a very long time out of the game. I can't say for sure, but I guess we'll just have to wait and see."

Beckham still has an eye on forcing his way back into the England squad despite manager Fabio Capello appearing to hint that his international career – where he has won 115 caps – may be over, although Capello has since backtracked.

"No, I wouldn't say it was over," said Beckham when asked if football had seen the last of him in an England shirt. "But whether it is or not is not really down to me. I want to continue to be available to play for England. That's all I can do. I am passionate about playing for my country and I have been for 15 years now.

"Ever since I was a little kid all I ever wanted to do was to play for my country. Whether the road is over or not, I don't really know, but I will continue to work hard to get my fitness right because that's the important bit at the moment. Once I've done that, we'll know more. I hope England continue to push on and keep bringing young players through; this is an important thing for the future of English football at international level."

Captain Craig Bellamy is out of Wales' Euro 2012 qualifiers against Bulgaria and Switzerland next month.

Bellamy, currently on-loan at Cardiff from Barclays Premier League side Manchester City, has been sidelined for three weeks with a knee problem that has hampered him throughout his career. Bryan Flynn, caretaker manager of the national side, confirmed that Bellamy would miss the forthcoming qualifiers. "Craig will be unavailable for the two matches next week" Flynn told BBC Sport Wales.

"I had a really long, excellent conversation with Cardiff manager Dave Jones just over 10 days ago... and we made the decision that Craig will not be available due to his fitness. He has an ongoing knee problem and hasn't played for the last five games. Obviously we've been aware of that and unfortunately for Craig and for us he won't be able to put on a red shirt next week. It's a big disappointment for me as caretaker manager. I wanted Craig in the team but these things happen."

Wales lost their opening Group G game against Montenegro and face Bulgaria at the Cardiff City Stadium on 8 October, followed by Switzerland in Basle four days later.

The defeat to Montenegro saw John Toshack depart as manager and Wales Under-21 coach Flynn appointed on a caretaker basis in his place.

The teenage Preston midfielder Adam Barton has withdrawn from the Northern Ireland squad. Blackburn-born Barton, 19, wants to keep his options open, according to a statement released by the Irish Football Association. Only on Tuesday Barton was included in the 22-man squad for the first time for the Euro 2012 qualifiers against Italy and the Faroe Islands.

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