|David Beckham will be hoping to impress England manager Capello [GALLO/GETTY]|
David Beckham’s exhausting attempt to stay in contention for the England squad for next year’s World Cup continues as he packs his bags for Milan, following a finals appearance with LA Galaxy in the Major League Soccer championships in the US.
Beckham was on the losing side in the MLS Cup, the title-deciding game, as the LA Galaxy were beaten on penalties by Real Salt Lake.
There will be no time to reflect on this loss as the next appointment in his hectic pre-World Cup schedule takes him to Milan for his loan spell with the Italian side.
Beckham’s move to Italy is motivated by the need to show England manager Fabio Capello that he is in the right form and shape to make the squad for June’s World Cup finals in South Africa.
Beckham’s LA Galaxy lost the championship title game after a 1-1 draw at extra time moved the game to penalties.
Beckham scored his penalty but Galaxy captain Landon Donovan was among those to miss as Salt Lake won the shootout 5-4 to capture a surprise victory just four years after entering the league.
“Its always tough losing, whether it be penalties or normal play but of course we can be proud of where we have come to,” said Beckham, whose team reached the championship final a year after having one of the worst records in the league.
Beckham was not fully fit for the game, having had three injections in his right ankle before the game, which did not go unnoticed by Galaxy coach Bruce Arena, who said that Beckham was one of several players on his team who were not fully fit for the game.
“There are probably very few players that are 100 percent, this time of the year. No, he was obviously a little bit hobbled, certainly wasn’t 100 percent,” Arena said.
The scrappy game featured a number of injuries and ended with both teams looking exhausted as a limping Beckham, who played with bruised ankle, struggled through the extra-time period.
The real struggle now however for Beckham is whether the MLS star can break into the Serie A side on his return to Europe.
The England midfielder made the same move last season, joining in January and staying until the end of the season in May.
Beckham needs to find time on the field with Milan to impress Capello and the midfielder faces plenty of competition with the likes of Gennaro Gattuso, Clarence Seedorf, Andrea Pirlo and Massimo Ambrosini all among Milan coach Leonardo’s options.
“It was a challenge the last time I went there – that is the way it is”
“It was a challenge the last time I went there – that is the way it is.
“People said I would only play one or two games last time and I ended up playing all but one,” he said.
“It is going to be a challenge to get into any team like that and with players like that.
“I am going to go there and work hard with the team and hopefully play some part and enjoy it. I enjoyed it last time and I am sure I will again,” he said.
The first step that the 34-year-old needs to take though is to recover from the bumps and bruises of the MLS season, particularly a bruised ankle bone which caused him some pain in the final week of the North American season.
“Obviously at the end of December I will be going to Milan and starting training so hopefully it is going to be alright for then,” he said.
“I’ll just rest now. It is the end of the season and I have to just try and rest it and get ready. I’ll have rehabilitation because it has been like this for a few weeks,” he said.
But there is limited time for Beckham to rest. His next appointment is in South Africa for the World Cup draw on December 4 and to assist with lobbying for England’s 2018 World Cup bid.