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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Nov, 15, 2007

Beckham named in England team to face Austria

David Beckham has returned to the England side after a four-game absence for the friendly international with Austria in Vienna.

The former Manchester United star last appeared for his country in the friendly with Germany in August but has missed the previous four Euro 2008 qualifiers with a knee injury.

Beckham has been chosen by Steve McClaren despite his recent lack of match action and will earn his 98th cap against the Austrians.

McCaren has awarded a first cap to goalkeeper Scott Carson who is on loan at Aston Villa this season from Liverpool.

Carson has created a favourable impression with Martin O'Neill's side and has been preferred to Paul Robinson.

But there was disappointment for Carson's Villa team-mate Gareth Barry despite his encouraging displays in the recent double header with Russia and the home clash with Estonia.

The Villa skipper had to make way for Frank Lampard who was also back in the starting line-up for the first time since the Germany game.

In total, McClaren made five changes from the side beaten 2-1 by Russia in Moscow.

Shaun Wright-Phillips, the injured Wayne Rooney, the suspended Rio Ferdinand, Barry and Robinson were also missing from that line-up with Carson, Wayne Bridge, Beckham, Lampard and Peter Crouch restored to the side.

Bridge was tasting his first action since the 3-0 away win over Estonia in June - also the last game in which Crouch was in the first XI.

Joleon Lescott was awarded his third cap - but a first start in his preferred central defensive role.

The Everton player had looked ill at ease when filling in at left-back in the defeat against the Russians last month.

On Carson, McClaren said: 'He's been around the squad for a long time. He had a busy summer in the Under-21 tournament and his performances for Aston Villa have been very, very good.

'The game will be an ideal opportunity for him to experience international football.'

However, McClaren revealed he knows who he will play in goal in Wednesday's final Euro 2008 qualifier against Croatia at Wembley.

He added: 'I know who my goalkeeper will be against Croatia.'

On David Beckham's return, McClaren continued: 'He's always kept himself fit but tomorrow's game is important for him.'

And on Frank Lampard - who will also start in Vienna - the England coach added: 'It's a friendly, so I'm looking at different personnel.

'Gareth Barry has performed excellently in the last three games but Frank's form since he has come back from injury has been a revelation - he has played some of the best football I've seen him play.'

McClaren also deflected questions about his own position amid speculation he could be taking charge of his final two games as England manager.

'That's not my decision, it's up to the FA,' he added. 'All we concentrate on is the game tomorrow night, hopefully the result will go right for us on Saturday night (between Israel and Russia) and we will be able to qualify when we play Croatia.

'It (his position) is hypothetical when there are so many events still involved.'

McClaren also insisted he was growing into his role and that he was on course to repay the FA if they show patience and keep faith in him.

'The first six to eight months were very difficult, the last seven we've made great progress and the performances have been very good, and everyone's seen the progress made,' he said.

'Look at last six months - the squad and the team have come together playing in a good style.'

He added: 'I'm positive. I still believe that the Croatia game will be the game (when qualification is decided).

'There's still a long way to go. The pressure is on Russia and Israel to perform.'

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