Legendary England striker Jimmy Greaves has called for Fabio Capello to axe David Beckham.
Greaves knows all about the pain of being left out, having famously been overlooked in favour of Sir Geoff Hurst for the 1966 World Cup final despite being the outstanding forward of his generation.
Beckham does not look set to suffer a similar fate just yet given the warm words Capello has offered about the 34-year-old, who if he makes it to South Africa would be appearing in his fourth World Cup finals. However, the former Tottenham star does not believe Beckham is worthy of a place and thinks it is time for Capello to find an alternative.
''You have got to get rid of the old players because they can go on too long,'' he told Canary Wharf's weekly paper. ''It doesn't matter how great a player they have been, there comes a time to call it a day, otherwise you'd still have Geoff Hurst and Bobby Charlton playing for England.
''Personally, I wouldn't pick Beckham any more. I would give some of the younger lads an opportunity to get experience instead.''
Having worked with Sir Alf Ramsey on England's momentous charge to the final 43 years ago, Greaves knows exactly what is required to win the world's greatest prize. And, while he has plenty of admiration for Fabio Capello, Greaves fears the usual excessive hype is being applied to a team that is only one out of eight he could make a case for in South Africa next summer.
''There is too much hype about England's chances,'' he said. ''We should have more realistic expectations. Most people don't know what the South Americans have up their sleeves, while there are at least six teams in Europe, including England, who have a chance. And I think Didier Drogba's mob, the Ivory Coast, could surprise a few people.
''If you stop and look and analyse the teams you can't possibly say England are favourites. There are one or two teams who can ruin the dream, like North and South Korea. You have to tread carefully because it is a bit of a minefield. But Fabio Capello seems to be doing a good job. I don't know him but his demeanour seems similar to Alf Ramsey.
''He has the right idea about dealing with the players a bit more severely than Sven Goran Eriksson did. You can't mess about doing other things if you want to win the World Cup so he's got the right approach.''