Beckham visits troops in Helmand

David Beckham flew out to Afghanistan last night on a surprise visit to British troops. He said he hoped to "do something useful" following the Achilles tendon injury which has ruled him out of the World Cup.

Beckham, 35, will meet troops and Afghan children, although his participation in kickabout games for the photographers will be limited, because of his injury. Instead he will spend the weekend meeting soldiers, sleeping in a tent and eating in their refectory.

The midfielder, who plays club football for Los Angeles Galaxy, is also expected to meet American troops, and those of other nationalities, such as the Danish, Estonian and Canadian.

He will be the most famous British sportsman to visit the front line in Helmand. A number of other sportsmen, including footballers, have been approached to take part in morale-boosting trips but most have not felt able to undertake the assignment.

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