Wednesday, August 17, 2016

17 August 1996 - That Beckham Kid Just Might Be Pretty Good

On 17 August 1996, 21-year old Manchester United midfielder David Beckham grabbed world headlines with a spectacular goal from the halfway line. 

The moment came in United's Premier League season opener at Wimbledon FC. By that point, Beckham had been with United for about four and a half seasons as a professional (including a short loan spell at Preston North End) and had made a total of only 42 league appearances. He had only established himself as a regular starter during the previous season, but it was a very successful one, with United winning a league and FA Cup double. Still, while Beckham was clearly a talented player, he was not yet considered a superstar of the sport, and had, in fact, not yet even earned his first England cap. 

His profile took a dramatic upward turn against Wimbledon, however. With United already leading 0-2, Beckham received the ball inside his own half and took a short dribble toward the halfway line. Right before he reached it, he spotted Wimbledon keeper Neil Sullivan off his line and ripped an audacious shot toward goal. As Sullivan scrambled backward to reach it, the ball fell over his head and into the net. Two weeks later, Beckham played his first match for England. 

United went on to win the league again that season, the second of six league titles Beckham would claim with the club.

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