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By ESPN Staff
Mar 24, 2008

Beckham hopes 100th cap starts new phase

LONDON -- David Beckham is hopeful his 100th international appearance for England is the start of a new phase.

Beckham, the former England captain, will play against France on Wednesday after being recalled by coach Fabio Capello. Beckham would become just the fifth Englishman to reach that milestone.

"As much as I'm honored to be here, I want it to carry on," Beckham said Monday. "It doesn't stop here for me. It's not about 'Have your 100th game and then retire.' It's about carrying on trying to play well for my country."

Beckham sat out Capello's debut win over Switzerland last month because the coach ruled that he wasn't fit enough during the Major League Soccer offseason. He's been playing preseason exhibitions for the Los Angeles Galaxy.

Beckham would move within 25 appearances of the record set by England goalkeeper Peter Shilton. Bobby Charlton, Bobby Moore and Billy Wright are the other former England players to have reached the century milestone.

Even if this match at Stade de France proves to be his last, Beckham will be happy.

"I never thought a year ago or two years ago that I would make 95 caps, never mind 100," Beckham said. "I'm honored that I'm making, hopefully, my 100th appearance in an England shirt, but I'm also honored to be doing it against one of the best teams in the world."

The 32-year-old Beckham was dropped by Capello's predecessor, Steve McClaren, after the 2006 World Cup and missed nine England matches. He was recalled a year later following a string of poor results.

Beckham remained on the team through the remainder of England's unsuccessful attempt to qualify for the European Championship, but missed out on Capello's first squad even though he was training with Arsenal in an effort to stay fit.

"He's a really good player," Arsenal midfielder Mathieu Flamini said. "It was a pleasure to train with him. He's very fit, good technically."