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The Antagonist - David Beckham can breathe easy

Published: 27 Nov 2009 - 07:51:16

So...David Beckham cannot go to South Africa next year because he uses an inhaler. What next then? Who else in Capello's Coterie do we need to be worried about?

Wayne Rooney must be a doubt because, almost daily, his head is looking more and more like a King Edward - which could lead to a nasty case of potato blight in the High Veld.

Frank Lampard had better not go because he is in severe danger of metal poisoning from kissing his ring, not to mention the increased likelihood of a serious neck injury in the thinner air from looking skywards every time he finds the net. (Yes...I know why he does it , but it doesn't make it any less irritating does it?)

- Tim Lovejoy on the Champions League
- Barry the Pro on Liverpool

And I am seriously concerned that Peter Crouch may have trouble with the atmospheric conditions bearing in mind he is already at a far higher altitude that the rest of the squad.What a load of drivel!

Many, many, many athletes have asthma to some extent or another and cope perfectly adequately at the top levels of their sport thank you very much.The reality is that DB's habits and behaviour are scrutinised on an almost daily basis by paparazzi all over the World.

The fact that it has taken them over 15 years to detect the inhaler tends to indicate that his use of this particular medical aid is a fairly infrequent thing.

Apparently, he has a puff every now and then before a game as a matter of course but I haven't noticed it affecting the amount of ground he covers in a game.

In fact he has always been renowned for having a great 'engine' and very rarely looks short of breath during a match. The man had a cold for God's sake!

As Roy Keane would say, "Get over it!"

Let's get off his back and hope 'Fabulous' picks him for the tournament, because he is our talisman, our hero, our 'special one'.

Every team needs one. Our cricket team had Freddie, our rugby team, Jonny and our Davis Cup Tennis team...aah well, that's obviously why we're always so crap at tennis.

It's not always the best player that receives such cult status. Freddie had a very indifferent Ashes Series this year apart from short bursts of genius in two tests and Jonny has tackled like a Dervish, kicked OK, but been fairly average in every other department this autumn.

However, to drop them would have been almost unthinkable and would have caused a national uproar. Initially our 'heroes' become heroes through deed but eventually we grow to love them because of who they are, not necessarily always because of what they achieve.

Once such eminence is established, the occasional aberration is quickly forgotten and deep seated affection and admiration endure. This inherent quality can then inspire team-mates and fans alike and can lift team performances to greater levels.

Jonny's honesty, innocence and fascinating revelations about his bouts of introspection draw us in and bring out the protective side of us.

Freddie's passion for his Country, sportsmanship and straightforwardness embodies a type of Britishness that we can all identify with.

Becks himself, of course, fought back from adversity, having endured almost pathological hatred after the 1998 World Cup when he was sent off against Argentina and then survived a short period of lunacy when he became confused as to whether he was a footballer or a Hollywood superstar.

He has subsequently achieved the remarkable feat of transcending club loyalty to be almost universally revered in this country.


On a more superficial level, good looks also help, which all the aforementioned have in spades.

Capello has got everything just about right so far. Now it's a case of whether he gets what Beckham is really all about.

For me, Becks goes to South Africa...full stop.

The only reason I wouldn't take him is if his leg fell off (and I stipulate leg here...any other body part and he still goes) or if he succumbed to another acute attack of 'metatarsilitis'.

His seat on the plane and on the bench should be assured. I say bench, because that's where he should be for at least 75% of every game. As much as I am an admirer of Goldenballs, his value to England, apart from his mere godlike presence, lies in his pinpoint crosses and free-kicks and his ability to change the direction and style of play towards the end of a game - if a change is required.

Thus, the demands on him would be perhaps three or four crosses and one or two free kicks (and a bit of running about in between) for about 15 to 20 minutes.

Even a chain smoker with advanced emphysema should be able to cope with that! So let's stop all the huffing and puffing (there goes that inhaler again!) and get real.

England needs David Beckham!

READ THE ANTAGONIST EXCLUSIVELY AT FOOTBALL.CO.UK EVERY FRIDAY

DSG


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FOOTBALL.CO.UK BLOGGER:the antagonist
Love him or loathe him you cannot ignore the Antagonist. His Friday blog tackles the big issues in our game today in an abrasive, often controversial style. He goes where others fear to tread. From wages to wags, diving to drugs - no subject is "off limits", no individual beyond reproach. Miss him at your peril!

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