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By ESPN Staff

David Beckham boosts 2018 bid with key meetings

David Beckham has assumed a new role as England 2018's bid trouble-shooter after holding meetings with two of football's most powerful figures.

Beckham had talks with FIFA president Sepp Blatter and vice-president Jack Warner, alongside Lord Triesman, the bid and FA chairman.

Triesman described Beckham as "hugely impressive'' and the England midfielder is fast emerging as a major force in the campaign's attempts to shake off the turmoil of the past month.

Warner said: "It was a good meeting (with) some pleasant chit-chat and he asked my advice on how best to proceed in the bid, which I was happy to give.''

Beckham told Blatter of his delight to be in South Africa, having felt honoured to meet the country's former president Nelson Mandela on a previous visit.

Beckham told FIFA.com: "It was a very relaxed, light-hearted conversation and it was good to speak to him. Mr Blatter is not just the FIFA president and a powerful man in football, but he's a very, very good person as well, which is more important.

"When I was last here with England I had the honour of meeting Nelson Mandela. That was the highlight of my career. To meet such a great man and a strong man and such a passionate man about sport and life will always stay with me.''

Triesman was delighted with Beckham's impact. He said: "We have had some excellent meetings today, including with the FIFA president Sepp Blatter and with FIFA vice-president Jack Warner.

"David was hugely impressive in those meetings. It is clear that legacy is central to the hopes of FIFA and any successful bid. This area is one of David's great passions and will be integral to our bid.

"He is an inspiration to children around the world, which will be evidenced tomorrow when he visits one of the FA's international development programmes near Cape Town.''

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