David Beckham successfully came through a 50-minute operation yesterday and has already talked to Fabio Capello about an England comeback in the autumn.
Such is Beckham's importance to the national side, manager Capello has invited the injured former captain to join the 23-man squad in South Africa.
Fears that Beckham will be finished at the highest level have been dismissed by the England coaching staff and the player's closest friends.
Capello said yesterday he looks forward to the midfielder playing again during the Euro 2012 qualifiers in September.
Beckham, already ruled out of the World Cup, ruptured an achilles tendon playing in Serie A for AC Milan on Sunday.
Capello has asked the midfielder to be a non-playing part of theWorld Cup effort. Beckham's presence in South Africa would beunprecedented but the England manager values his positive influence andthe experience he brings from playing in the last three World Cuptournaments and winning 115 caps.
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The race is already on for the 34-year-old's services in SouthAfrica with TV and charities quick off the mark to inquire about hisavailability. He could also step up his ambassadorial duties forEngland's 2018 World Cup bid.
Although the achillesoperation is relatively simple, the rehabilitation is arduous andBeckham can expect to spend up to two months with the heel immobilisedbefore starting a programme of exercises in the pool to increase thetendon's flexibility and strength.
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Beckham is determined this will not mark the end of his career and was already considering an offer to return to AC Milan next January and extend his time-share deal with Los Angeles Galaxy.
'I am upset but want to thank everyone for their messages of support,' said Beckham in a statement on his personal website. 'I hope to make a swift and full recovery.'
He was injured during AC Milan's 1-0 win against Chievo and flew by private jet to Turku in Finland yesterday to consult specialist surgeon Sakari Orava, who performed a 50-minute operation to mend a complete rupture of the achilles tendon in his left heel.
Beckham cannot expect to be jumping and kicking a ball for six months but his surgeon insisted there was no reason why he could not make a complete recovery if he had the determination.
Orava said: 'It is difficult to say if he has the desire to come back to the same level as before but usually players can come back if everything goes fine.'
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