McClaren set for US Beckham recce mission
Steve McClaren will embark on a whistle-stop trans-Atlantic factfinding mission on Thursday in order to meet David Beckham and see for himself the standard in Major League Soccer. Beckham is yet to make his eagerly-awaited MLS debut for Los Angeles Galaxy after failing to shrug off the ankle injury he aggravated on his England comeback in June. The 32-year-old seems almost certain to miss Thursday's encounter with DC United and is a major doubt for England's friendly with Germany on August 22. However, with McClaren choosing the FA/McDonald's National Football Festival at Wembley Stadium this afternoon to confirm his trip to Washington, Beckham is now certain to make the east coast flight to give the England coach an update on his recovery. McClaren revealed: 'I know David has been struggling with injury and has not played yet but I intend to go over and have a chat with him to see how he is. 'I definitely need to speak with his coach (Frank Yallop) and the director of football (Alexei Lalas) as well, but I also need to watch an MLS game in the flesh and have a look at the standard. 'A lot of people have been writing things about the standard of football over there. 'But I need to see it myself and make that judgement rather than other people.' McClaren's trip fits perfectly into an otherwise crammed schedule. After his arrival as guest of honour at today's event, which featured over 800 schoolchildren and was aimed at boosting the standard and availability of qualified coaching for young players in every community, McClaren is gearing himself up for a cross-country trip to take in four games in the opening five days of the Premier League season. Starting at West Ham on Saturday, McClaren will then head to Manchester United, Tottenham and Portsmouth, casting his eye over as many potential squad men as possible before announcing the party to tackle Germany a week on Friday. He added: 'The good thing is I can make the trip to see David without missing anything back here. 'I will be back for the opening games on Saturday and I will also be at matches on Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday. 'This week was the best chance I had to get over. So, while I hope David will be involved, at least I will get a chance to speak with him.'