'We've got a stadium to make us proud'
David Beckham admits it would be perfect for England to open the new Wembley Stadium as world champions.
Skipper Beckham and his World Cup team-mates visited the new 90,000-capacity arena in north London today.
They took a break from their preparations for Germany and made the short trip from their Hertfordshire camp after training for a close-up of the new structure.
Beckham, 31, said: 'We'd like to think we could open this stadium as world champions. That would be the perfect scenario.
'But whatever happens we've got a stadium that's going to to make every England player proud.'
Beckham is one of the three players in the World Cup squad who played in the last England game at Wembley - a 1-0 defeat to Germany in a World Cup qualifier in October 2000.
The others are Michael Owen and Gary Neville and it was their first visit to the venue since that dramatic day when Kevin Keegan quit as manager.
Beckham said: 'I'm enjoying today more than I did that day.
'It's changed remarkably. It's the first time I've been down here and it is a great experience.
'It's coming together. People are saying it's taken a long time and it has but to be part of this is going to be incredible.'
The stadium is months behind schedule and now looks unlikely to be opened until next year.
The new Wembley should have been ready for this month's FA Cup final but a series of delays means it remains a long way from completion.
England's players and boss Sven-Goran Eriksson were cheered out of the tunnel today by hundreds of construction workers.
They stepped onto the pitch - but it was sand not grass.
Most of the red seats are in place and the big screens are in position at either end but there are still a couple of cranes in the arena as work continues on the roof.
The next handover date from builders Multiplex is now in September and that means the opening game in the stadium could be an England friendly early next year or the FA Cup final.
Owen, 26, said: 'I hope they get it up and built really quickly so we can start next year.
'It's great. It's a fantastic stadium. We all knew it would be very impressive and we haven't been disappointed.
'A few people will be very lucky to play in this stadium and I hope I'm one of them.'
Frank Lampard, 27, expects the new Wembley to inspire the same special feeling as its predecessor.
Lampard said: 'I had a little Wembley feeling when we arrived, even though it's not finished and there's sand on the floor.
'You still get that feeling when you drive up. It's very imposing and it's even more imposing when you're inside and you look up.
'It reminds me of the great stadiums I've played in like the Nou Camp and the Bernabeu.
'They're very imposing and this is the same if not more so.'
Lampard has never played an international at Wembley but trained there with the squad as a teenager.
He watched Paul Gascoigne score his classic goal against Scotland in Euro 96 and saw the team's four-goal destruction of Holland on their way to the semi-finals.
Lampard said: 'The biggest memory I have was in Euro 96 when I was with the squad as a young kid training.
'That was a special time at Wembley. That was what Wembley was all about for me with Gazza scoring the goal against Scotland and the game against Holland.
'They were the games that stick in my mind about Wembley.'