McClaren watches Beckham in charity Hollywood match

Steve McClaren was last night on one of his most bizarre scouting missions yet – watching David Beckham play in a charity match against Vinnie Jones's Hollywood Sunday league team. The England manager is understood to have made the trip secretly with even some Football Association officials unaware he was going.

McClaren went to see Beckham play for the Los Angeles Galaxy against Hollywood United, a charity game that was due to kick off around 3am this morning. The Hollywood United players are mostly expat amateurs yearning for a regular football match although they do number among their squad Alexi Lalas, the former USA international who, as president of the LA Galaxy, is Beckham's employer.

Beckham was also playing against the likes of former Chelsea and France international Franck Lebeouf and former Scotland and Rangers player Richard McGough. Lining up too with Jones were Def Leppard guitarist Viv Campbell, former Sex Pistol Paul Cook and actor Anthony LaPaglia. The overall standard of Hollywood United can be divined from the fact that they challenged the English press to a game when the latter were in California for Beckham's arrival last summer.

McClaren also watched the former England captain train on Friday and was keen to speak to the 32-year-old to get an idea of his fitness. England have a friendly against Austria in Vienna on 16 November and then their last Euro 2008 qualifier against Croatia five days later. Qualification is out of their hands with Croatia requiring one point against Macedonia and Russia needing maximum points from Israel and Andorra to be sure of qualifying.

For Beckham, last night was a chance to prove his fitness and at least get the chance to gain 100 caps (he is on 97) if he is, after all, not to play at one more major championship.

For McClaren it was a chance to slip away from England, which has been a difficult place to be since defeat to Russia on 12 September made Euro 2008 qualification for England look unlikely.

The England manager tried to keep the trip secret and did not tell other FA officials that he was going to California. He is understood to be in good spirits despite the Russia result and there is no appetite in the FA for sacking him right away. In fact, there is a softening of attitude in some quarters and, although remote, the possibility that McClaren may stay on despite not qualifying for Euro 2008 cannot be completely discounted.

The match was due to be played at the LA Galaxy's Home Depot Center stadium in aid of charities supporting those affected by the recent wildfires that have hit southern California and – perhaps fortunately for Beckham – Jones was last night not likely to play.

News
Russell Brand was in typically combative form during his promotional interview with Newsnight's Evan Davis
peopleReports that Brand could stand for Mayor on an 'anti-politics' ticket
News
The clocks go forward an hour at 1am on Sunday 30 March
news
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor finds himself in a forest version of London in Doctor Who episode 'In the Forest of the Night'
TVReview: Is the Doctor ever going stop frowning? Apparently not.
News
Voluminous silk drawers were worn by Queen Victoria
newsThe silk underwear is part of a growing trade in celebrity smalls
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
footballMatch report: Real fight back to ruin Argentinian's debut
News
Candidates with surnames that start with an A have an electoral advantage
newsVoters are biased towards names with letters near start of alphabet
Arts and Entertainment
Isis with Lord Grantham (Hugh Bonneville)
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Jay James
TVReview: Performances were stale and cheesier than a chunk of Blue Stilton left out for a month
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?