David Beckham, It's Time To Let the Younger Guys Take Over

ThomasSenior Writer ISeptember 11, 2008

The stars of yester-year are slowly but surely going away. Among those leaving is David Beckham. Love him or hate him, he's been an England staple since his debut in 1996.

When England played Croatia in their recent 2010 World Cup qualifier, Becks not only got his 105th cap for his country, but he also wore a different number, no. 17, for the first time in his international career.

Most people know what this means, Becks will be leaving and when he does, Theo Walcott will be likely taking his place or at least his number.

For those of you who haven't been paying attention, Theo Walcott, a nineteen-year old Gunner, was instrumental in the defeat of Croatia as he scored a hat trick in his first international start to help the Three Lions win, 4-1.

His ability to handle the pressure of England's biggest night since the 3-2 defeat to Croatia at Wembley last year and, within the hostile surroundings of Zagreb's Maksimir Stadium, was evidence that Walcott can take over Beckham's mantle.

Walcott's pace and trickery would have impressed upon Beckham when the LA Galaxy midfielder trained with the Arsenal squad during the MLS winter break.

Not only that, Walcott's level headedness and maturity have also convinced Beckham that the 19-year-old is ready to become a regular on the international scene.

Becks said of Theo Walcott in the Guardian: "Theo had proved himself before this game with Arsenal. The speed he has is incredible and I have never played with a faster player. It doesn't matter about his age."

"He is a level-headed lad and won't get carried away. He's at the right club with the right manager and everyone knows Arsene Wenger looks after his players. I'd just tell him to enjoy it."

Beckham, now 33, came on as a late substitute in Saturday's victory over Andorra, 2-0, and Wednesday's victory over Croatia, 4-1. Since the 2006 World Cup, Beckham's international role has greatly diminished and on Wednesday, the public got a glimpse of what or who would take his place.

Talking to the Guardian, Becks said:"I'm pleased for Theo and the team, and I am happy to be here with the squad, but I don't expect to play in every game anymore," the former captain said after England's convincing FIFA World Cup™ qualifying win put them top of Group Six."

"That's the way it is now. I was happy to get on in both games (Andorra and Croatia) and would have liked to have played more, but it's all about the team and the squad, and qualifying for the World Cup."

"I really don't care if I play or not. I'm just happy with the way they played and with the six points from the two games. The biggest thing is England winning and qualifying."

The only question now is "When?" When will Becks retire from international football? I admit, I'm a big David Beckham fan, but I know when he should step down. It's clearly time for him to retire from international duty. Come on Becks, let the younger guys take control. Your doing great at MLS, concentrate the rest of your career to that and allow others to play for England.