McClaren leads tributes to retiring Beckham
Former England manager Steve McClaren hailed David Beckham as a great of the modern game after the former national team captain announced his retirement.
Beckham, who was instantly dropped when McClaren inherited the England job from Sven-Goran Eriksson in 2006, is to quit the game at the end of the season. He bows out as a Ligue 1 winner with Paris St Germain, with the 38-year-old deciding the time is right to step away from his illustrious playing career.
Beckham eventually won over McClaren in their England days, earning a recall. And McClaren said: "He was a great player. He made the very most of his talents through sheer hard work and professionalism and always doing extra work on the training field. He inspired his team-mates through his performances."
McClaren added: "He was a winner, he's won so many things in his career, and that was infectious on his team-mates. And he was an inspiring personality to young players with his behaviour and professionalism on and off the field."
McClaren told Sky Sports News: "By the end of his career he was a fantastic ambassador, not only for football around the world but for our country as well in helping bring major events to this country."
Beckham, who won 115 caps for England, more than any other outfield player, had a role in bringing the Olympic Games to London, but it will be his footballing feats for Manchester United, Real Madrid, PSG, LA Galaxy and AC Milan for which he will be remembered.
Beckham's former Manchester United team-mate and long-time friend Gary Neville is in Paris, having travelled to meet Beckham. He discussed the midfielder's decision with him and was able to offer some insight into his thinking.
"He just feel it's the right time," Neville told Sky Sports News. "He just feels he's taken it as far as he can. He wanted to come back home, he's been away for 22 years and he's got to the end of the road. He's won another championship at PSG, that's four in four countries, and he just wants to come home."
England manager Roy Hodgson told Sky Sports News: "I wish him well in the future whatever he chooses to do and I personally hope that will be in football. David is a man of many talents and a lot of people now will be wanting him for different jobs and roles, some of which could take him away from us in football.
"But I'm rather hoping we'll be able to keep him in football because we can really benefit from his experience, we can really benefit from his charisma and we certainly benefit from the magnificent past he has had as a football player."
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