Stuart Pearce has cited David Beckham as a "shining example" to his England Under-21 players of how to be a model professional. Beckham's substitute appearance against Slovakia on Saturday saw him surpass Bobby Moore as England's most capped outfield player.
The AC Milan midfielder came off the bench to replace Aaron Lennon for the the second half of the 4-0 friendly win, his 109th international appearance. It is a remarkable achievement by the 33-year-old but all the more astonishing given that just over two years ago, it appeared Beckham's career was finished.
Jettisoned for his country by former manager Steve McClaren and dropped by then Real Madrid boss Fabio Capello, Beckham headed for the bright lights of Los Angeles and a lucrative offer to join the Galaxy. But a loan move to Milan has seen his career turn full circle and Beckham is in line to better Peter Shilton's all-time best mark of 125 England caps should he stay fit up to, and throughout, next year's World Cup in South Africa.
Pearce, whose Under-21 side face France in a friendly at Nottingham Forest's City Ground oj Tuesday evening, believes that Beckham is capable of playing for several more years and that is what England's young Lions should be looking to aspire to."He is 33 at the moment and I played my last game at the age of 37, so based on that he can have at least another four years," said Pearce.
"He's more professional than I was and he has looked after himself, there's not an ounce of fat on him. I think you have got to admire him."I hear some good things and some bad things about how many caps David has got, but there is only ever good coming out of that and he is a shining example to everyone in my young squad."He's an example about what it's like to be at the top of your game, about what it's like to be out of the team and what it's like to roll your sleeves up and say I'm going to do whatever it takes to fight to get back into that squad."If I ever want to use an example of a professional David Beckham is there for me to use.
"That is the example you have got to have - a totally unselfish attitude to say I'll be in the squad no matter what. If you want to use me brilliant, if not I'm fully focused."And that is why he is in the squad now, because of his professionalism."