Beckham restricted to 180 seconds for Keown

Arsenal XI 6 England XI 0
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Martin Keown bade a fond farewell to Arsenal last night. After 449 official games over 12 years and two spells, the veteran central defender left Highbury for the last time with the ringing endorsement of 38,000 fans to send him away a contented man - as well as a richer one, to the tune of roughly £500,000.

Martin Keown bade a fond farewell to Arsenal last night. After 449 official games over 12 years and two spells, the veteran central defender left Highbury for the last time with the ringing endorsement of 38,000 fans to send him away a contented man - as well as a richer one, to the tune of roughly £500,000.

The sight of David Beckham being replaced by Paul Gascoigne after three minutes was presumably the stuff of some managers' dreams and others' nightmares, but the England stars, past and present, crossed paths at Highbury for Martin Keown's testimonial.

The sell-out crowd was lucky even to see 180 seconds of the talented midfielder with the strange haircut - Beckham, that is, not Gascoigne - due to a late wrangle between him and Real Madrid. Despite the England captain being suspended for the last league match of the Spanish season, Madrid insisted Beckham only be allowed to kick off.

As it was, the shaven-headed "galactico" touched the ball four times while jogging gently around the centre-circle before exiting to give his predecessor and former equal in terms of headline-grabbing a chance to hog the limelight once more.

Not that there was any shortage of former footballers with a flamboyant edge: Ian Wright being a prime example. Arsenal's record goalscorer, although that is a position under threat from Thierry Henry, showed he is a fan of the Frenchman by swapping his shirt before the kick-off and he then swapped shirts with a fan. If he has not lost his popular touch a shot over the crossbar from six yards proved he has lost his shooting touch.

On the day that England's provisional squad for Euro 2004 was announced, Sven Goran Eriksson was present, naturally, with six of his men at Highbury. When John Terry confronted Thierry Henry, the thought occurred that the Chelsea man could do his country an early favour by taking out the striker before they cross paths in Portugal. He failed miserably as Henry was taken off, unscathed, after 11 minutes.

Ashley Cole's back-heel after 16 minutes and Jérémie Aliadière's tap-in six minutes later provided the goals in a 42-minute first-half, but Keown showed what Arsenal have not been lacking all these years when he missed a penalty.

Reyes scored three goals in the second half and Aliadière got his second to make it 6-0.

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