Slimline Beckham eyes up Shilton's record

Thursday 26 March 2009 16:25

David Beckham said today that his move to AC Milan has improved his fitness and that he hads not ruled out matching goalkeeper Peter Shilton's record of 125 caps for England.

Beckham is set to win his 109th cap in Saturday's friendly against Slovakia or next Wednesday's World Cup qualifier against Ukraine, overtaking the record for an outfield player he shares with the late Bobby Moore.

"It's a huge honour every time I meet up with England and every cap I get at the moment is a bonus," Beckham told Sky Sports News.

"When I was on 94 or 95 I never expected to make 100 and then people thought I would retire then, so to be on 108 now and hopefully get on to 109, I'm happy with that."

Shilton, whose tally could have been even higher but for a period when he alternated England's goalkeeping duties with Ray Clemence, said recently that Beckham's tally was devalued by the number of substitute appearances but the midfielder needs only one more start to take his tally to 100.

"That would be special but I'm happy to get the 109th," he said. "It's more important that I'm here with the squad and it's more about getting the team to the World Cup."

A regular run in the England team could culiminate in Beckham reaching Shilton's record in 2010, possibly even in the World Cup.

"People have already started talking about it (Shilton's record). I'm not looking at that at the moment as I know how things can change but being at Milan now it gives me more chance to play at that higher level to play at international level," added the 33-year-old, who recently extended his loan deal with the Italian club from US side LA Galaxy until the end of the season.

"I think it's improved my fitness more than anything else. When I first arrived in Dubai (in December) with Milan my body fat was 13.7, now it's 8.5 so it's more about the fitness side than anything else.

"I've had to adjust my game to the Italian game but I did that with Spain when I moved from Manchester United and thought that was successful now and now I'm as fit as I've been for a long time and I've enjoyed that part of it."

Both England games are at Wembley, where Beckham is guaranteed a warm welcome.

He accepts though that England have yet to hit the heights at the rebuilt stadium.

"People expect you to be exceptional every game at Wembley but we haven't done that yet," he said.

"We've had the odd occasion, a first half or a second half, where we've played good football but we need to make that happen more often.

"We need to make it our home and I don't think we've done that yet. "We've proved we are a good team away and we need to do it at home.

"There shouldn't be any pressure in those games. You're playing for your country and you're playing at Wembley so the players are confident."

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