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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Nov 9, 2007

Beckham's cap haul to end at ninety-nine?

David Beckham was handed an England recall today - raising the frustrating prospect of the former captain ending his international career one short of a century. Beckham is currently on 97 caps - and having confirmed his fitness to Steve McClaren during the coach's whistle-stop trans-Atlantic trip last weekend, he can expect to add another appearance to his tally in next Friday's friendly with Austria. Although a starting berth against Croatia five days later is by no means certain as England conclude their Euro 2008 qualifying campaign at Wembley, the odds would be on Beckham being involved at some point, taking him to 99. However, should England fail to reach next summer's finals - and the matter is now out of their hands - Beckham could find himself surplus to requirements by the time the Three Lions head into a planned February friendly with Switzerland. That, of course, is a fixture which may mark the start of what could be a totally new era, with a new coach. Beckham, McClaren and the rest of the England squad will hope such a scenario does not occur - but they are reliant on Israel preventing Russia winning in Tel Aviv next Saturday to blow the whole qualification picture wide open. So - because the former Middlesbrough manager cannot know whether next week's trip to Austria will be the prelude to a Euro 2008 mission there next summer, or the only chance England will have to experience the hospitality of the co-hosts - he has no option but to select the strongest squad available.

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