I would have had Beckham in my GB team, says Eriksson

'David is an icon – he should be involved in the Olympic Games'

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The Independent Online

The former England manager Sven Goran Eriksson would have selected David Beckham for the Team GB Olympic squad.

The former England captain revealed last week that he had been left out of the final 18-man squad, with his former Manchester United team-mate Ryan Giggs, the Liverpool striker Craig Bellamy and Manchester City defender Micah Richards understood to have been chosen by the coach, Stuart Pearce, as the three over-age players for London 2012.

While the 37-year-old Beckham is still expected to play a leading role as an ambassador during the Games, Eriksson expressed disappointment that his former captain had not been selected. He told BBC Radio 5 Live's Sportsweek programme: "I haven't seen Beckham play for a long time but I think David should anyhow be there because it is the Olympic Games, it is Great Britain, it is England, it is London. So I would have picked him, put him on the bench at the very least. I hope he will be involved in some way in the Olympic Games; it's important.

"It's a difficult one but David is an icon; he should be involved in the Olympic Games in some way. If he can't be in the football team I hope he can be involved in some other way."

Turning his attention to England's efforts at Euro 2012, where they went out at the quarter-final stage after defeat on penalties to Italy, Eriksson praised the defence but concurred with the general consensus that England must address their inability to keep the ball. He believed the team had been better at retaining possession under his tenure but was optimistic that the new manager, Roy Hodgson, will address the matter with some urgency.

"I am sure Roy... I wouldn't say he is worried about it, but he is thinking about it. England have to improve there, absolutely," Eriksson added. "Considering the time he had to prepare, absolutely [he did well] and Roy will, hopefully, sort it out in the future because I think that has to be better if they want to win a big tournament.

"I think they have a good team and I think it was a big surprise how they played against Italy, a big negative surprise. Roy is a good manager; he will fix it."

Beckham's disappointing week continued as his goal was not enough to prevent his MLS club Los Angeles Galaxy losing 4-3 to San Jose Earthquakes. He had something to smile about when he equalised Steven Lenhart's seventh-minute opener with a trademark free-kick on the half-hour. An own goal from Jason Hernandez and Landon Donovan's strike, capitalising on a defensive mess in the San Jose box, made it 3-1, but Victor Bernardez pulled one back before the break.

Sam Cronin equalised two minutes after the restart and Chris Wondolowski completed Beckham's disappointment in the 61st minute.

The win extended the Earthquakes' lead at the top of the Western Conference to four points over Real Salt Lake, who lost 2-0 at Columbus Crew. Tony Tchani and Eddie Gaven struck in the first half for Columbus.

DC United established a two-point lead at the top of the Eastern Conference with a 3-0 win over the Montreal Impact. Chris Pontius put DC ahead on the stroke of half-time, Robbie Russell added a second five minutes into the second half and substitute Hamdi Salihi completed the scoring in the dying moments.

That put United two clear of New York Red Bulls, who could only draw 1-1 at Toronto FC. Jan Gunnar Solli put the Red Bulls up in the fourth minute, but the lead lasted just two minutes before Danny Koevermans equalised.

Seattle Sounders lost ground on the West leaders with a 2-2 draw at New England Revolution. Colorado Rapids beat Portland Timbers 3-0 with goals from Jaime Castrillon, Conor Casey and Jamie Smith.