How Does David Beckham Fit into Paris Saint-Germain's Starting XI?

Sam Tighe@@stighefootballWorld Football Tactics Lead WriterFebruary 25, 2013

PARIS, FRANCE - FEBRUARY 24:  David Beckham of PSG in action during the Ligue 1 match between Paris Saint-Germain FC and Olympique de Marseille at Parc des Princes on February 24, 2013 in Paris, France.  (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

The David Beckham fanfare reached new levels on Sunday evening as the former Manchester United, Real Madrid and L.A. Galaxy star made his Paris Saint-Germain debut.

He played 15 minutes in "Le Classique"—the bitter rivalry matchup between PSG and Marseille—and looked a steady presence if nothing else.

He was directly involved in the second, killer goal and saw a lot of camera time as viewers from the U.S., Japan, China, United Kingdom and most other European countries soaked it in.

When he signed on transfer deadline day, speculation mounted as to what kind of role Beckham would play.

Was he a father figure to Marco Verratti, a key player who many underestimated, a publicity stunt or a sponsor attraction?

Well, he's made his debut at the Parc des Princes pretty quickly, and by all accounts he was far from rusty. So where does that leave him with regard to Carlo Ancelotti's plans?

The obvious concerns will lay with Verratti.

The Azzurri international, who's been compared to Andrea Pirlo on several occasions and remains a transfer target Juventus wish they could have afforded, has been a little up and down in 2013.

After les Parisiens struggled to overcome lower-league side Arras 4-3 in the Coupe de France, the Italian coach poured scorn over some of his underperforming players (h/t ESPN FC).

In particular, he singled out Verratti just weeks after labeling him naive, suggesting, "[He] was too slow. He has to be more aggressive, better positioned on the pitch."

B/R's own Jonathan Johnson doesn't believe too much has changed, and in the aftermath of PSG's 2-0 victory over Joey Barton's Marseille, he still maintains the young prodigy needs time to develop and a guiding hand to help.

Ancelotti has given credence to the idea of a timeshare too, confirming recently that he eyes Beckham in his customary regista-esque spot:

He'll bring experience, his quality, he's very serious in training, a very good example of professionalism.

He can play as a defensive midfielder. He has a very good quality of pass. He did that last season in Los Angeles.

The former Milan manager has tried out a few different formations this season and took a long time to juggle his squad and find the right balance.

He's used the 4-2-2-2 formation at least six times now and likes the shape, but Verratti's performance is sloping off. The Italian playmaker formed a wonderful understanding with midfield terrier Blaise Matuidi, but as we enter March, PSG occupy the top spot in Ligue 1 by a margin of three points.

With the extra attention that brings, along with the certifiable circus Beckham unintentionally but inevitably brought with him, the pressure is steadily rising.

If PSG don't win the title, it will be widely regarded as a complete and utter failure due to the money they've spent.

Verratti is a good player and a promising prospect, but is all this a little too much on a young man's shoulders?

As Johnson has suggested, he needs a little time to steady himself and cannot be asked to give an 8/10 performance every single week. On the other hand, Beckham can.

"Goldenballs" will be a mentor, an experienced head and a competitor for that deep-lying playmaker spot in Ancelotti's formation, and now that the publicity stunt theories over his signing with PSG have vanished, this looks a very astute signing.



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