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 Posted by ESPN Staff
May 31, 2008

Capello hands Beckham back captain's armband

David Beckham insisted he is still capable of performing for England at the same level as a decade ago after he regained the captaincy for Sunday's international with Trinidad and Tobago. And the 33-year-old, the fourth skipper of the Fabio Capello era, has set his sights on playing for his country at the 2010 World Cup finals in South Africa. Beckham will lead the side out for the first time since the World Cup quarter-final against Portugal two years ago and is 'very happy' to once again have the armband. He quit the role in a tearful statement 24 hours later but Capello has now reinstated him, albeit for one game, after running the rule over Steven Gerrard, Rio Ferdinand and John Terry in his previous three games in charge. Beckham made his England debut in 1996 against Moldova and was proud to receive an award from Sir Bobby Charlton before Wednesday's home clash with the USA after clocking up 100 caps against France in March. The Los Angeles Galaxy star is now 33 and knows question marks will be raised as to whether he is still good enough to pull on the Three Lions shirt, particularly as he is playing in the MLS. But Beckham has no intention of resting on his laurels now he has joined Charlton, Billy Wright, Bobby Moore and Peter Shilton in reaching three figures for his country. And he showed he is still one of the best crossers of the ball in the world when setting up John Terry's goal in the 2-0 success against the US. He looked sharp and fit at what is the start of the domestic season in America and is determined to stay involved under his former Real Madrid boss Capello. Beckham said: 'People will always question whether I can still play at this level but I want to carry on. I am not ready to stop playing for my country. 'I have a few more wrinkles now but I still feel I can do what I did 10 years ago. 'I was happy with my performance against France in March, my first game under Fabio Capello, and it was the same against the United States the other night. I was happy to set up the opening goal. 'When you have worked on things during the week, like where the players have to run to and where I have to put the ball to, and it comes off in a game, it makes you happy. 'People have always talked about my set pieces and what I can bring to the team. I can bring a lot more to the team than set pieces but it is one of my strongest things that I can do in the game. 'There is always a chance if I get a set piece that I'll put it in the right place for someone to score.' Beckham is determined to remain a part of Capello's plans and has faith in the manager to help England finally put years of under-achievement with the so-called 'golden generation' of players behind them. The ex-Manchester United star said: 'The manager has said if I stay fit and I am performing, then I've got a chance to be in the squad and that's all I can ask for. 'At the moment I am taking each game as it comes - and who knows what is around the corner? 'But I've played in three World Cups and I know how much it means to the country, so I would love to still be playing in 2010 and be at the World Cup in South Africa. 'It's also exciting to play under Fabio Capello again. He is a great manager. I didn't win anything at Real Madrid until he arrived and we both left with a La Liga title. He is what England need. 'People also question about me now playing in America but the standard of football is improving all the time.' With seven of the players who featured in the Champions League final excused from the trip to Port of Spain, Capello is expected to blood several of the younger and more inexperienced members of his squad at some stage. The likes of Dean Ashton, Ashley Young, Gabriel Agbonlahor, Theo Walcott and Joe Hart could all play some part.

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