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The Toe Poke

Gullit: No special treatment for LA Beckham

Ruud Gullit underlined the importance of David Beckham's role at Los Angeles Galaxy while insisting he would not offer the former England captain any special treatment after being unveiled as the club's new head coach.

The 45-year-old former Holland international was strongly linked with the job following Frank Yallop's resignation - and was duly unveiled at his new club's Home Depot Center ground.

The former Newcastle and Chelsea boss will begin his tenure by overseeing Galaxy's 2008 Major League Soccer campaign and insisted Beckham, whose debut season was wrecked by injury, would be treated like anyone else.

Gullit told Sky Sports: 'He is a very well-known player, I know him personally.

'But when we are on the pitch he has to do the same things that the other players have to do.

'As a coach we try to use his experience because that is the reason why he came here, and of course his ability as a player.

'He has a role of helping other players to understand the game a little bit better so he is going to be a link with the other players but as a person he will be treated as equally as anyone else.'

Beckham was recalled to the England squad yesterday and Gullit insisted he had no qualms about the former Real Madrid midfielder being called up.

'When you play in Europe you have to deal with this all the time and I am not worried about it ,' he said. 'David will decide whether or not he wants to play for England, it's up to him.'

The former Holland star also insisted he was committed to raising the profile of football in America.

'I have always looked to take on important challenges, and the opportunity to manage the LA Galaxy is an exciting opportunity at this stage in my career,' he continued.

Sponsors AEG chief executive Tim Leiweke and Galaxy president Alexi Lalas spoke of their hopes for Gullit in MLS.

'We have signed a world-class coach and leader for this franchise, a soccer man who understands how the game is played and managed at the highest level.' said Leiweke.

'Ruud will immediately put a system in place that will blend his instinct and knowledge of the game with the assets and talent that are part of the Galaxy franchise.

'Ruud is an exceptional leader whose commitment, character and experience make him the perfect fit for our team and our organisation.'

Lalas added: 'The high expectations and the competitive environment at the Galaxy demands strong personalities and confident leaders.

'Ruud Gullit possesses these qualities and more. Along with their world-class experience, we feel that Ruud and (assistant coach) Cobi Jones will build a successful and attractive team for our fans in 2008 and beyond.'

Former US international and Galaxy's all-time top goalscorer Jones is delighted with his new role, following his retirement as a player.

'I could not be more excited about the opportunity to work with Ruud and Tim and stay within the Galaxy and AEG family and embark on this natural next step in my soccer career,' said Jones.