Reaction to Beckham injury

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The Independent Online

Well wishes and sympathy poured in for David Beckham tonight after the former England captain was ruled out of the World Cup finals with an Achilles tendon tear.

The 34-year-old was injured in AC Milan's 1-0 win over Chievo and faces months on the sidelines, ending his hopes of appearing in a fourth World Cup finals.

Former England defender Martin Keown said: "There's no doubt he's going to be out for six months.

"He needs now to look at rescuing his career."

Keown believes Beckham's experience and crossing ability would have earned him a place in England's 23-man squad for South Africa.

"Capello knew there was a role for Beckham in the squad and this is a massive blow," Keown added on BBC Radio Five Live.

"David Beckham is probably the best player technically that I played with in an England shirt.

"You need those types of players."

Keown lamented the latest injury to an England player following Ashley Cole's fractured ankle.

"We can't really afford to keep losing top-quality players in the manner that we are," he added.

Beckham was playing for Milan on loan from the Los Angeles Galaxy, and Keown also questioned whether Beckham's globetrotting lifestyle had contributed to the injury.

"He's hardly had a break for two years and you wonder, all this flying to and fro the other side of the world, how much that has affected his Achilles tendon?" asked Keown.

Alexi Lalas, the Los Angeles Galaxy's general manager when Beckham joined the Major League Soccer franchise, also expressed sympathy.

"It's a horrible situation for him," Lalas told BBC Radio Five Live.

"Personally, I know how much it meant to him to be at a World Cup and how important he was for an England team.

"I'm sure he's devastated right now.

"He's a very, very important player who's now going to be out for a significant time.

"I don't think this is an injury which keeps him out from playing ever again, but the World Cup, you're talking about three months away.

"I think it would be very, very difficult, next to impossible, but I'm certainly not a doctor.

"But you never want to write off David Beckham - if there's one thing he's taught us it's his ability to bounce back.

"It's devastating I'm sure for him and disappointing for a lot of soccer fans, not just England fans, but David Beckham fans, but US soccer fans and Galaxy fans."

Chelsea coach Carlo Ancelotti believes it is too early to speculate on whether Beckham's injury will signal the end of his career.

Ancelotti, then in charge of Milan, handed Beckham the chance to begin his fitness battle for this summer's World Cup when he signed him on loan from the Galaxy last year.

"I'm so sorry for him because I know how he wanted to go to the World Cup," said Ancelotti. "He came last year to Milan above all to achieve this, to show his quality for the England team.

"I'm so sorry for him. I hope he does a good, quick recovery and will come back to play.

"It's too early to say his career is over. He had a bad injury, but I hope he comes back to play football. Until now, he's had a fantastic career and, also, he's shown great professionalism."

Chelsea winger Florent Malouda added: "I think it must be a difficult moment for him because he's made, in recent months, a lot of effort to prepare for this World Cup.

"I just hope he gets a good recovery and I hope that won't have been his last game."