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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Nov 10, 2006

Resurgent Beckham after starting berth

MADRID, November 10 (Primera Liga) - David Beckham hopes his all-action display in Thursday's Copa del Rey clash with Ecija will prove to coach Fabio Capello that he is fit, hungry and ready to reclaim a permanent first-team spot.

Beckham made only his second full appearance of the season in the return leg of the round-of-32 match after being included in Real's starting line-up, alongside a mixture of senior stars, fringe players and youngsters.

It took the new-look Real a long time to get going against their third division opponents, and it was not until Beckham himself broke the deadlock just after half-time that the Madrid superpowers were finally able to gain any control.

But following Beckham's goal, the floodgates opened and further strikes from Ruud van Nistelrooy (2), Ronaldo and Ruben De le Red completed a 5-1 victory on the night and a 6-2 aggregate scoreline.

Aside from his goal, Beckham looked full of energy and determination, and the former England captain clearly wanted to make the most of his opportunity to impress after being consigned to bench duty for much of the campaign.

'I felt good, my fitness felt really good and I felt strong even at the end of the game,' said Beckham, who revealed he has been working on his fitness in his own time to help compensate for his lack of match-action this season.

'You need games to get your fitness, but I've got my fitness and I've kept my fitness by working hard in training and doing extra in the evenings.

'I do extra training in the evenings, because my wife goes to the gym and I try and do a bit extra while she is working out. It's important I don't do too much but I do do extra.'

At 31, Beckham is approaching the twilight of his career, but the midfielder is adamant his fitness levels are as high as ever.

'I can still play every game. If I was to play every game this season I'd still be happy with that and I'd still be able to cope with that,' he said.

'Mentally and physically I'm strong. (Against Ecija) I was pleased, not just because we won and I scored a goal, but because physically it was the best I've felt for a while,' added Beckham, whose lack of first-team action this season is believed to be one of the main reasons why he has yet to sign a contract extension at Real.

'It is down to me to prove to the manager that I can play. I have to that because when you are not in the team you have to work to get into the team, and that is what I will do.'

Beckham was also pleased with the result against Ecija but admits Real needed that first breakthrough to finally gain the upper hand against their battling opponents.

'It is always nice to be involved in a game like that. We were expected to win this game, and we did that in the second half,' he said.

'We played a lot better in the second half than we did in the first half. The first half was difficult because people are expecting you to beat these teams four, five, six-nil. When we don't score in the first 10 minutes people are on top of us. But we are happy.'

Beckham's goal, which came four minutes after half-time, saw the former Manchester United man drill home a left-footed shot after Ecija goalkeeper Zigor had denied Van Nistelrooy.

'The goal was important for our team, and against them as well, because it knocked them down,' added Beckham.

'It knocked their confidence and put ours up a bit, and we went on from there.'

Real's next game sees them face Osasuna in La Liga on Sunday, with Capello's troops looking to get back on track following their shock 2-1 home defeat to Celta Vigo last weekend.