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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Sep 11, 2008

Beckham accepts cameo role with England

David Beckham admits he no longer expects to play in every England game and has indicated he is ready to let the likes of Theo Walcott take the limelight if it means reaching the World Cup in 2010.

The 33-year-old has ambitions of featuring in the tournament in South Africa but accepts his role could be off the substitutes' bench as a squad player.

Coach Fabio Capello preferred Walcott to Beckham on the right flank for the last two matches and the results were devastating against Croatia as the Arsenal teenager become England's youngest scorer of an international hat-trick.

Beckham, who came on for Walcott at the Maksimir Stadium, said: "I don't care if I play or not. As long as England win, that is the biggest thing for me.

"I'm happy to get on in the last two games and I'd have loved to have played more in both. I'm happy to be part of the squad and get as many games as possible. I don't expect to be in every game, that is the way it is.

"At the end of the day it's all about the team, the squad, and England qualifying for the World Cup.

"I'm part of the squad, happy with the team and the two results. ''It's six points out of two games so whether I play or not is immaterial. The biggest thing is if England win."

Beckham has been in the England team when there have been genuine hopes of success, so he is wary of getting carried away with the 4-1 win in Zagreb.

However, he also hopes the victory will win back fans who have been disillusioned with England underachieving.

"I hope so because the fans we have travelling all the time deserve it and the people at home deserve it,'' said the Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder. "It's great to see the success we've had in other sports, in the Olympics, cricket and rugby. It would be great to see if football can do that.

"We want to get people back interested in us, that is a big thing for us. We want to get people to love coming to the games like they used to and talk about the national team like they should.

"Hopefully this result will set us up for that but we need to continue moving forward.''

Beckham feels it was a matter of time before England produced a performance like they did against Croatia - and Capello will now ensure that standards do not drop.

He added: "Someone said that we've turned a corner but we felt like that before the game, so the performance didn't really surprise the players. But it's put us on a good platform.

"We as a team are not getting carried away but we'll be happy with the result. The way we performed was the biggest thing. We have a lot of level-headed lads who will be pleased but we will not get carried away.

"It's a chance for us to take this on because we want to carry on going forward. We don't want to take a step back. The manager won't let that happen anyway.''

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