Beckham set for central role with LA Galaxy

January 15, 2007

Los Angeles Galaxy head coach Frank Yallop wants David Beckham to be his midfield general.

Beckham's ideal playing position, as a right-sided or central midfielder, has long been the subject of debate but former Ipswich and Canada coach Yallop believes the 31-year-old former England captain can be most effective in the middle of the park.

Yallop has not yet spoken with his new star, who has signed a five-year contract with the Major League Soccer team worth £128million, but has scheduled a conference call with Beckham for Sunday.

The head coach said: 'I'm not giving too much away but I would think he'll play centrally for us. We need him on the ball as much as possible and that's the best place to play him I would think.'

Yallop emphasised the importance to Galaxy of making a good start over the first three months of the MLS season before Beckham joins the club, if he decides to stay in Madrid despite Real coach Fabio Capello's assertion that he will not play for the Spanish giants again.

'We've got to get off to a good start, obviously,' he added. 'It's a big hole but it's going to be there waiting for him. I feel confident we can get off to a good start to the season and welcome him when he does come in.'

Yallop also said he was looking forward to seeing Beckham as a dressing-room mentor for the Galaxy's younger players.

'I think that's what he brings to any team. You look at what he's done with the clubs he has been at and for England, with his work-rate and his enthusiasm, that's going to rub off on our young guys and we're excited to have him.'

Reading manager Steve Coppell has praised Beckham's decision to cross the Atlantic and believes it is a natural move for such a superstar.

Fellow Premiership managers such as Martin O'Neill and Chris Coleman have been critical of the move due their belief that `Becks' could still play at the highest level in Europe.

But Coppell is adamant that the true value of the move could be to motivate the American public to take a greater interest in the beautiful game.

He told BBC Radio Five Live: 'I think it was the natural decision to make. If any one of the current crop of players was destined to go to America and try to make an impact there it was David Beckham.

'It had to be a new challenge and realistically it had to be America. But what is success? Is it the team winning or is it exciting and enthusing the next generation of players in America?

'It is very difficult to equate what will be looked upon as success. His life is not just about football. He has a foot in so many worlds now.'