McClaren fears for Beckham's England job

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The Independent Online

Although he believes David Beckham will win his 100th England cap, the former England manager Steve McClaren fears for the midfielder's international future, given last summer's move to LA Galaxy.

"It's going to be difficult," McClaren said. "The travel, keeping an eye on his performances, the standards. He's gone from the top, top team in Europe to America and the MLS, where it's really at the beginnings and not of the standard he's used to. And definitely not of the standard of what international football requires.

"So it's going to be difficult – but David, I know, prides himself on playing for England. We've seen that in the past, and he'll keep fit. He's working out with Arsenal already, and I believe that he will get his 100th cap. And then it's up to him – the work that he does, the performances he puts in – whether he'll get any more."

McClaren admitted that his relationship with Beckham suffered when he told the then Real Madrid midfielder that his international career was over.

Having resigned as captain following England's exit from the World Cup in 2006, Beckham was told by McClaren, who took over from Sven Goran Eriksson, that his services would no longer be required. Asked why he took the step McClaren said, "Just to go forward. Just believing that we had young players coming through who could play on the right-hand side. Steven Gerrard was playing on the right-hand side for Liverpool, so I could see the likes of Gerrard, [Owen] Hargreaves, who'd come through in the World Cup, [Frank] Lampard and Joe Cole. And a great player like David Beckham, I didn't see at that time being able to sit on the bench.

"Unfortunately we never had Owen Hargreaves, we had to move Steven Gerrard inside, and no one really took the mantle and emerged on that right-hand side."

Unsurprisingly, relations became somewhat strained. "I can't say it did the relationship any good," McClaren admitted. "I'd always had a good one with him – we'd always had that respect for each other – and I know he was very, very disappointed. But he's a professional, he knows things like that happen, and what does he do? He gets on with it, dusts himself down and proves people wrong. That's what he did at Madrid with [Fabio] Capello, and that's what he did with England."

The full interview and video can be seen on ESPN Soccernet.com from tomorrow

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