Much has been made of David Beckham's torn Achilles tendon and its effect on England's World Cup hopes in South Africa.
But will its impact really be that huge on England's bid for a first World Cup win since 1966?
In footballing terms, probably not, but when taking into account everything that Beckham offers, it's a definitive yes.
Beckham's attitude to every England game is the same, whether they are playing Argentina or Andorra. The pride that Beckham feels when he represents England is only outweighed by his will to win.
In recent games, he has settled for half-hour cameos from the substitutes' bench, but from the moment he walks onto the pitch to his usual rapturous ovation, the crowd is lifted, and this filters back into the team's performance.
Never before has one player's appearance impacted a team as much as Beckham's. His will to win is infectious, his performances full of determination, and the fans appreciate this. His enthusiasm transfers into support for his team, and with the crowd behind them, the other players experience a second wind.
Off the field, Beckham can offer valuable advice to the younger members of the England squad. He can help them to deal with the pressures of playing on such a huge stage. Beckham is a leader, and this is a valuable commodity in today's footballing society.
While England's so-called stars constantly underperform, struggle with the pressure of big games, or even pile even more media scrutiny upon themselves with their antics in their private lives, Beckham brings a cool head to proceedings and leads by example.
Only Wayne Rooney displays the same enthusiasm on the pitch for England, and he also displays the same consistent and impressive performances that are seldom associated with England players. His form this season has been out of this world. His creativity, goal-scoring record, and footballing intelligence are unquestionable.
At least England have finally found a player inspirational enough to replace Beckham as England's icon. Rooney will be England's main man in South Africa, and he would have been regardless of Beckham's injury.
As replacements go, some would argue that Aaron Lennon's fitness is more of a worry than Beckham's unavailability. Lennon was the reason Beckham was relegated to the bench in recent England games. He offers searing pace and more often than not an end product. He would be sorely missed should he not travel to South Africa.
Other options include Theo Walcott, but he currently lacks the footballing brain to deliver at the top level, and his productivity is well below par for an international footballer. Shaun Wright-Phillips offers glimpses of his quality but is often inconsistent and cannot hold down a regular place for his domestic club. The same can be said for David Bentley.
Furthermore, nobody can offer the same standard of crossing or dead-ball delivery as Beckham. He will create chances. With all 6'7" of Peter Crouch in the side, or with Rooney's newfound heading ability, England would pose a serious aerial threat to the best of teams.
The overall package that a team receives when they play David Beckham is incredible. This is why he is still playing with a team as good as AC Milan at the age of 34. He is still an exceptional footballer, but his personal qualities add so much to a team that they cannot be ignored.
David Beckham's personality contributes to his appeal, and on a human level, his disappointment in not playing at the World Cup will be enough to upset most fans.
David, you will be missed...but please God, don't let anything happen to Rooney!
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