Beckham not concerned by cap record
David Beckham says he is not worried about the prospect of not breaking Peter Shilton's international record of 125 caps and wants to focus on his role in helping the development of the England side in whatever ways he can.
In an exclusive interview with ESPN's Ray Stubbs, Beckham maintains that England have got their confidence back at the right time and that he is happy to just be involved in a young squad that has so much potential.
''I think that what we have done so far since Fabio Capello took over is we have got the strength and confidence back that we needed,'' Beckham said. ''We went through a tough time, not qualifying for the Euros [in 2008] and for our country and for our fans it was kind of devastating.
''So it was about getting the confidence back from the fans which was the biggest thing. I think that's what the manager has done - he has been able to instil that confidence that the players need and that kind of grit.
''I have said it before that he's kind of installed an arrogance, but an arrogance in a good way. Not a horrible arrogance, just an arrogance of, 'Yeah, we can play against the best and we can beat the best whoever we play against' and I think that's what the manager has done for both individuals and for the team."
With the team playing well under the Italian (winning 15 of their 21 games), Beckham has found it difficult to secure a first-team place in the national team but is happy to keep playing his part even if it means he doesn't beat Shilton's record.
''It's not the most important thing to me,'' Beckham said. ''To play for my country is enough and obviously to reach certain goals and certain milestones is incredible, but I will let everyone else talk about whether or not I will reach 125 caps, because for me, it's not the most important thing.
''The most important thing is being successful and playing for my country and, to have been able to do it 115 times and still be involved in the team, I am more than happy with that."
Beckham's role in the team is more like that of a mentor as he finds himself competing with the likes of Theo Walcott, Aaron Lennon, Shaun Wright-Phillips, Ashley Young and James Milner, but the former captain is happy to be playing a part in their development.
"As a young player, you just need to feel involved and you need that confidence,'' Beckham said. ''But we have got young players in our team that have played in some of the biggest games in football. You look at a player like Wayne Rooney, who has played in European Cup finals - he's playing for one of the biggest clubs in the world - then you look at the Chelsea players, and there's so much determination, so much talent, in our team and in our players.
''If I can help in any way, of course, that's what I need and that's what I got when I was in the England team when I was so young. I got the confidence from players like Gazza, looking at him and watching the way he plays and the way he trains and his love for the game. You look at the determination and the grit of Tony Adams and Alan Shearer and you want that kind of success and you want the help from these kinds of players."
In particular, Aston Villa's attacking duo of Young and Milner have been attracting attention and Beckham believes that they will blossom at the World Cup.
''They are great young talents,'' Beckham said. ''And it's about giving the young talent a chance. The chances they have had with England they have taken and they are playing well for Villa, so I think they are going to be very good players."
None of the current crop, though, compares to the man that Beckham believes will be England's talisman in South Africa: Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney.
''He is still only young - that's the great thing about Wayne,'' Beckham said. ''Wayne is always looking to improve himself. However successful he has been at Manchester United and with England, he always wants to get better and that's the good thing about him. That's why he's at a club like Manchester United because they can see that he's not just a great player now but he is going to get better.
"Without a doubt, he's one of these players that other players feed off of, and when he's playing well, when he's working hard, everyone wants to do that."