David Beckham has targeted an earlier-than-expected return to action with the Los Angeles Galaxy on September 11.
The England midfielder, 35, has not played a competitive game since tearing his left Achilles tendon while playing for AC Milan in March, an injury which ended his hopes of playing for England in a fourth World Cup. He has undergone a gruelling rehabilitation programme and has now targeted some involvement in the Galaxy's home Major League Soccer clash with the Columbus Crew a week tomorrow.
He told lagalaxy.com: "The doctors' original (return) date was October 1, but I always kind of said I want to be ready before then."
He added: "I'll keep my fingers crossed and hopefully will play in part of the game here against Columbus. I'll be on the bench, and hopefully I'll get on the field for 15-20 minutes. That's what I'm looking at."
Beckham, who returned to training with his Galaxy team-mates on August 11, insisted retirement was never on his mind at any point from the moment the injury occurred.
He said: "When you first have an injury like this and realise how serious an injury it is, you worry that you're not going to get back to playing top-flight soccer. But that probably was in my head for only about 10 seconds."