Capello's youth movement leaves Beckham out in cold

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The Independent Online

David Beckham is unlikely to add to his 115 caps for England again unless he can prove to Fabio Capello that he is back to the fitness levels he attained before his Achilles injury in March – but the consensus is that could be difficult while he plays for the Los Angeles Galaxy.

Since prematurely announcing the player's international retirement before the friendly against Hungary in August, Capello has changed his position and said that the door is not closed on Beckham – who last played for England against Belarus one year ago yesterday – but it is now looking increasingly unlikely that the 35-year-old will feature this season.

There are no plans to include Beckham in the squad for the friendly against France next month when Capello has committed himself to picking young players such as Jack Wilshere, Andy Carroll, Kieran Gibbs, Adam Johnson and potentially Jordan Henderson.

Beckham was selected for the England squad that played a friendly against Egypt in March but did not play. The problem for Beckham next spring is it would be difficult for him to have demonstrated his fitness by the time England go to Copenhagen to play Argentina in February given that he has said he will not be going on loan as he has done for the past two seasons.

England's game in March is a Euro 2012 qualifier against Wales in Cardiff which, given the draw with Montenegro this week, is one in which they cannot afford to take risks. It does not lend itself to being the kind of match in which Beckham can be eased back into international service after what will be by then almost 18 months away.

The return of the former England captain would be a popular choice with supporters who have grown ever fonder of Beckham the longer his international career has lasted. He has made it clear to Capello that he does not want a farewell match at Wembley and wants to be considered for every game on merit.

The friendly against France on 17 November comes amid the Major League Soccer play-offs and is just four days before the final in Toronto. LA Galaxy lead the Western Conference with two games of the regular season left. Since recovering from the injury that ruled him out of the World Cup, Beckham has made five appearances for the Galaxy, three as a substitute.

He will be a crucial part of England's 2018 World Cup bid at the final presentation in Zurich before the vote on 2 December, at which Capello is also likely to be present.

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