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May 16, 2013

Hodgson hopes Beckham stays in game

England manager Roy Hodgson has paid tribute to David Beckham after he announced his retirement from football on Thursday, and expressed his hope that the former captain of the national team remained involved in the game.

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Beckham will hang up his boots at the end of the season, bringing an end to a 21-year career as a professional which saw him claim 115 international caps, a record for an English outfield player.

The 38-year-old was out of the international picture since Hodgson took over in early 2012, but the England boss is hopeful that the former national team captain will continue to devote his energy to football rather than other opportunities his global fame might enable.

"I wish him well in the future whatever he chooses to do and I personally hope that will be in football," Hodgson told Sky Sports News.

"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."

Hodgson revealed that Beckham had contacted him to offer his best wishes for the future with the England team.

"In David Beckham, England have a very big fan and a very great supporter," he added.

Football Association chief David Bernstein concurred with Hodgson's sentiments, telling The Sun: "He's become an iconic figure in the game. If it's something he wants to do, there's every opportunity for him to become the lead football figure that this country badly needs.

"As an ambassador for the FA and English football, I couldn't think of anybody better. He's been a wonderful performer, particularly at Manchester United where you think of him and that group of fantastic youngsters Sir Alex Ferguson developed.

"Then there's his work for England. You could never accuse him of not wanting to give everything for his country."

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