James Lawton: Beckham keeps public hanging on every word

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The Independent Football

Who was it singing like a canary after banging in a free-kick against the bunch of La Liga non-entities Numancia?

Of course, it was old rent-a-quote himself, David Beckham, who we are told was a prime mover in the vow of silence made by the England players in their latest fit of pique.

It was a nice bit of PR work, too. On the night Tim Henman was playing his US Open semi-final - a stirring piece of over-achievement if we ever saw it - Beckham got the front of a serious Sunday newspaper's sports section, plus two whole pages inside on the commercial wizardry of his move to Real Madrid.

Elsewhere, the nation's biggest-selling Sunday led on the delicate state of the England captain's marriage. "I'm no has-been," declared one headline.

Meanwhile, Beckham's England and Real Madrid team-mate, and best-selling author, Michael Owen was telling the world that the pressure on his international place will pass soon enough. "It goes around in circles," he said. "It will be somebody else's turn next."

In the unlikely event of Beckham being dropped by England, his response will be fierce. "I'll fight back because that's the sort of person I am," says Beckham.

It seems just like yesterday - actually it was last Wednesday night - when Beckham threatened to deny us such philosophical pearls. But deep down we knew, didn't we, it was a little too good to be true.

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