Wednesday, August 11, 2010

11 August 2006 - Beckham's (Temporary) Goodbye

On 11 August 2006, David Beckham's dream of reaching 100 caps for England appeared to be over, as manager Steve McClaren omitted the Real Madrid midfielder from the squad chosen to play Greece in a friendly.

He had reached 94 caps, with his last appearance coming in the quarterfinal loss against Portugal in the 2006 World Cup. Beckham, who had captained the national team since 2000, surrendered the armband after the tournament, but expressed his desire to remain with the team. McClaren, however, had assumed control of the team on 1 August and had different plans. In dropping Beckham from the lineup for Greece, McClaren claimed that he was taking the team in a "different direction."

England won the friendly against Greece, but struggled in qualification matches for Euro 2008. During one six-match run in late 2006 and early 2007 (including friendlies against the Netherlands and Spain), England scored only two goals, prompting McClaren to recall Beckham on 26 May 2007.

Since then, Beckham has reached 115 caps, the most among outfield players and second only to goalkeeper Peter Shilton's 125. McClaren, meanwhile, was sacked after England failed to qualify for Euro 2008 and moved to FC Twente, where he won the Eredivisie in 2010. He is currently the manager of VfL Wolfsburg.

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