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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Aug 5, 2007

Beckham unlikely to play against Toronto

David Beckham has all but ruled himself out of his planned Major League Soccer debut in Toronto.

Beckham held a press conference in the Canadian city this evening - an event initially called to promote his appearance for Los Angeles Galaxy in their MLS game against Toronto FC at BMO Field.

But the England midfielder admitted he had still not fully recovered from an ankle injury that has limited his playing time to a 78th-minute substitute's appearance in a friendly against Chelsea two weeks ago.

'Unless there's a drastic change I won't be playing tomorrow,' Beckham told reporters.

'Today was the first time that I ran. Running straight forward is not a problem but turning corners is still a problem and I don't think I'll be involved in the game.'

Beckham, 32, even threw into doubt his participation in the Galaxy's next game, this Thursday against DC United in Washington DC.

'It would be nice to play some part of the game in Washington but I'll just have to keep my fingers' crossed. A week to 10 days is what I'm looking at.'

Beckham says he will need to play 'a few games' before he considers making himself available for England.

The former national team captain, who was recalled to Steve McClaren's side at the end of last season, has been struggling to recover from an ankle injury he initially suffered on England duty in Estonia on June 6 and aggravated playing for Real Madrid in the subsequent days.

He has not trained fully with his Galaxy team-mates since he arrived in Los Angeles in mid-July and will not be in action today barring a drastic change in his condition.

'All that's on my mind at the moment is getting myself fit. If I'm fit, obviously I have to play a few games before I even think about going home to England to play for the country.

'But my main priority at the moment is getting myself fit and getting myself playing for the Galaxy.

'Getting on the training pitch, to be honest, that's my biggest goal at the moment. Hopefully then, I'll be able to get a few games in and play for the country.'

Beckham has said he has no regrets about playing while hurt in his final games for Real Madrid - despite tonight's game likely to be the fourth game he has watched from the sidelines since his token debut as a 78th minute substitute in a friendly against Chelsea on July 21.

'I sprained it playing for England, played again four days after for Real Madrid with the sprain and pulled the ligaments,' Beckham said in Toronto.

'Then I played the last game of the season for Real Madrid with three injections to numb my ankle so you can imagine what my ankle looked like after the game. I ripped the ligaments in that last game so it was a bit of a mess.

'Then I went on holiday to recuperate and then when I arrived in LA it was the first time I really had treatment apart from about a week of fitness work that I was doing in the south of France.

'I personally have never agreed with any injections and anything that could be unnatural. I like to feel naturally fit going into games. But I think because we were going for the league title and we needed to win the last two games I would have done anything to play in that game.

'It wasn't healthy, it wasn't maybe the right thing to do in the long term but I did it and at the end of the day I'm glad I did it. I played in a game for 65 minutes and we ended up winning the league.

'It's something I did at the time and it's obviously not done me much good leading up to these last few weeks but I did and that's it.'

Beckham, 32, began his running work as the rest of the Galaxy trained in Toronto having flown in from Los Angeles in the early hours of the day.

'Fitness-wise I'm fine, it's just the ankle is still swollen. I'm having deep tissue massage every day and at the moment running in straight lines is fine but that's not going to help me in a game.

'You need to be right. There's no point in me coming back and playing a game when people are expecting me to be playing at the high level I can and do. I'm here for five years and maybe longer and it needs to be right.

Beckham said he hoped the ankle would be healed in 'maybe a week to 10 days', casting doubt on whether he would even face DC United on Thursday night.

'Today, running like I did was a huge step for me because I haven't really been able to move on it at all.

'The problem is it being my left ankle. The way I strike the ball puts a lot of stress on my left ankle. Maybe if it was the right one it would be a lot easier but being the left one there's still a lot of stress. And I never play with strapping or tape on my ankles so that doesn't help either.

'But it would be nice to play some part in the game in Washington but I'll just have to keep my fingers crossed and work at it.'

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