David Beckham to Lead England in the Carribean

Edward QuinnCorrespondent IMay 31, 2008

What do you do when you send several of your top players home to give them a break after a tough Champions League Final?

You have to appoint an experienced skipper to lead what will be a young and inexperienced side against the next opposition.

Now Fabio Capello could have used Steven Gerrard or Rio Ferdinand as captain for the Trinidad game, or plumped for Villa captain Gareth Barry. Instead, he has given it to David Beckham.

Wise move?

In a way, yes. When Capello has players such as Gabriel Agbonlahor, David Wheater, Stephen Warnock, Joe Hart, and Joe Lewis in his squad, he knows that they are young and have not yet reached the international limelight and fame, such as luminaries in the Premiership like John Terry, Wayne Rooney, and Joe Cole.

When you have such people in the squad, you need an experienced figure to lead you into battle.

Gerrard and Ferdinand have been around for a good while but are still both under 30 years old. Beckham, at 33 years of age and with 101 England cap, is the most battle-hardened England player still around.

Perfect for the captaincy.

But look at Beckham's previous record as England captain. True, at times he may have given them truly inspirational performances, such as his last-minute goal against Greece in October 2001 to send England to the World Cup.

But these were brought back down to earth with the team's performances in the major tournaments.

Expected to blossom and do well in the three major tournaments (2002 & 2006 World Cups and Euro 2004), England have delivered sometimes shabby performances and often scraped through their matches.

And in all three cases they reached only the quarter-finals.

After the loss to Portugal in the 2006 quarters, Beckham threw in the towel.

We know what happened then in terms of his international career. He was left out of many squads before being recalled and then delivered heartening performances in England's failure to reach Euro 2008.

Can he translate this form into good leadership again?

We'll see on Sunday.

Now Capello will have used John Terry, Rio Ferdinand, Steven Gerrard and David Beckham as England captains. Who will he select as the permanent one for the 2010 World Cup qualifiers?

Again, we'll see in the future.