England team spirit best in my time, insists Beckham

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The Independent Football

Ahead of England's friendly with Uruguay at Anfield on Wednesday, the first fixture since the FA decided to cut short Eriksson's contract, Beckham, who has become a veteran of managerial uncertainty at Real Madrid said: "The team spirit is still very strong. In-fact, it's been the best since I started playing for my country.

"There are certain situations that have happened over the last year or two and the whole team sticks together, showing remarkable togetherness for a group with so many young players and just a few experienced internationals.

"It doesn't matter what manager comes in, the players will all stick together." Beckham also called for the nation to be as focused as the players and concentrate only on the World Cup.

The Real Madrid midfielder will clock up 10 years in an England shirt this Septemberunscathed by the critics whose questions over his international credentials have this season been silenced by a rich vein of club form.

He said: "I can handle criticism, I'm a big enough man to do that. I get great things said about me by managers and players. And that is the important thing for me. I've played with some amazing managers. If I wasn't good enough I'm sure they wouldn't keep on playing me." Ridiculing the idea that his relationship with Eriksson has kept him in the side, he added: "At this level you know that just doesn't happen."

Going into his third World Cup, Beckham has no intention of quitting international football to prolong his club career or giving up the captaincy without a fight.

He said: "It's one of the biggest honours I've had and I really don't want to give it up. And I want to carry on playing for England for as many years as possible. I'm never going to walk away from my country."