It's hard to know where David Beckham fits into the England picture. He has unflinching desire and a strong work ethic. He's a man of 115 Caps. But on the pitch nowadays, he is brought on for a cameo. A shadow of his former self, which, after a career like his, is, in many ways, to be expected. You look at his weaknesses, his fitness, and his lifestyle and you can easily dismiss him, much in the same vein as Ronaldinho has been for Brazil.
Yet, it is so very hard to discount David Beckham. As a footballer, Beckham was at times, outstanding, but he was and is often derided for being one dimensional, for which he is, and he has been shown no love by managers before.
Sir Alex Ferguson, Fabio Capello, Glenn Hoddle, and Ruud Gullit have all had reservations or criticisms about the man, but have in some way admitted defeat and said that they were either wrong or Beckham had "proved" them wrong. There is no better example of this than Fabio Capello's now famous U-Turn whilst at Real Madrid.
Nowadays, Fabio is England Manager, and Beckham is 34. Beckham is on loan at AC Milan from his American adventure, and is trying to keep match fit for the World Cup. Last season, when he performed the same trick, we all saw a completely rejuvenated Beckham, playing through his skin and showing quite exactly why we all fell in love with him from the off. His football was quite exemplary.
However, a year on, and Beckham is struggling to match the same heights as before. And many are saying that he should not be included for the World Cup.
Which is, of course, rubbish.
Beckham is not the player he was, I know that, but nobody can pass a ball better than him. And as has been proven before, with 20 minutes to go, and a game tied at one all, and options slimming for Capello, putting Beckham on, so he can put the ball into the box with exact precision is an effective solution. It might not reap results all the time, but it is another dimension. A very useful tool to have in the box.
With this option, an option that has been used throughout the qualifiers, it seems silly to suddenly scrap it in favour of a different tactic, or another player.
And where are these pretenders?
Bentley is a sporadic bit part at Spurs, Wright Phillips hasn't really excelled this season, Lennon has been injured and Walcott is frustrating at the best of times. None of those players have overwhelmingly staked a claim on the right hand side of the pitch.
I'm not suggesting that Beckham should start. I recognize that his days as an England starter are long gone, but with 20 minutes left of a World Cup Semi Final, in a dead-locked game, a man of 115 caps and the sweetest right foot in world is most definitely a welcome sight.