12/16/07

Capello to let Becks get century

Fabio Capello's first act as England boss will be to reinstate David Beckham as England captain.

Goldenballs will be back as skipper for one game only - his 100th cap in the friendly against Switzerland on February 6 which will also mark Capello's first match in charge.

In the wake of England's defeat against Croatia and failure to reach the Euro 2008 finals, there was grave disquiet inside the FA about how to fill Wembley for the February friendly.

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As well as being Capello's first game in charge, the Switzerland game will be turned into a celebration of Beckham becoming only the fifth player ever to reach 100 England caps.

Current captain John Terry is happy to hand over the captain's armband - and Capello, who dropped Beckham from the Real Madrid side after he announced his intention to join LA Galaxy, is happy to go along with the FA's plans.

After the shock of being told he would never play for Real again, Beckham forced his way back into the side and was a key figure as they clinched the La Liga title.

Despite their brief fall-out, the two men have always had huge respect for each other.

During his time at Real, Beckham said: "Capello is one of the best in the world. His record speaks for itself. He is a winner and he believes in his players. And he gives them his full support, too."

When Capello first arrived at the Bernabeu, Beckham referred to him as "a hard coach."

And he expects him to put an end to the cult of celebrity in the England set-up.

Former boss Steve McClaren referred to 'JT' and 'Stevie G' with such awe it sometimes seemed he was more concerned about befriending the big stars than coaching them.

But all that will change under harsh taskmaster Capello.

Beckham said: "Capello has no favourites. He judges you on merit and how hard you work. Everyone is given a chance.

"He's not a difficult man - he just wants dedication and commitment to the cause. He showed me what sort of a man, as well as a manager, he is."

Beckham's Madrid career seemed to be over when he announced in January that he had signed an agreement with LA Galaxy - leading Capello, with the backing of the Real president, to announce that he would never play for the club again.

But with Real struggling and Beckham showing how determined he was to get back in the side, Capello turned to the Englishman in February.

And Beckham scored a fabulous free-kick in a 2-1 win against Real Sociedad on his return to secure his place in the affections of the Bernabeu fans.

He would go on to play a key role as Capello's side hunted down leaders Barcelona and snatched the title thanks to a better head-to-head record.

Beckham even managed to force his way back into the England reckoning, despite having been unceremoniously dumped by McClaren.

Beckham said: "I reacted the same way I've always come back from things, like whenever people say I'm not up to the job."

And in the aftermath of Real's shock title win, Capello was full of praise for Beckham.

He said: "We were all wrong about Beckham. The coaching staff made a decision for which I take responsibility. We got it wrong. I never had the smallest problem with Beckham. He has always been a great professional."

Source: Sunday Mirror

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