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Beckham set for major honour

25 May 2012, 07:38

 London - David Beckham's England career will be honoured at the team's final Euro 2012 warmup match, with the former captain receiving a UEFA award for players who have more than 100 international caps.

The 37-year-old Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder, who made the last of his 115 appearances for England in 2009, will receive a commemorative cap and medal at half-time of the June 2 friendly against Belgium at Wembley, the English Football Association told the Associated Press.

The award will also be presented to 1966 World Cup-winning striker Bobby Charlton, who played 106 times for England, and retired goalkeeper Peter Shilton, who made a record 125 appearances.

Family members of 1966 World Cup captain Bobby Moore and Billy Wright, a defender in the 1940s and '50s, will receive the award from FA chairman David Bernstein.

The ceremony was introduced by UEFA President Michel Platini to celebrate players who have played more than 100 internationals.

Despite never winning any honours with England, Beckham established himself as the biggest star English football has produced.

"Throughout my career I've been pretty successful," Beckham said last week. "I've played for some pretty big teams. I've played for my country quite a few times and for managers without sentiment ... I'm very proud of the fact and I have always found it an honour that people want to buy my shirt, that fans turn up to watch the team I am playing in or to see myself. I've always found that a huge honour."

After beginning his career at Manchester United in 1992, Beckham made his England debut against Moldova in September 1996.

The low point of his international career came at his first World Cup, in 1998, when he was sent off for petulantly kicking out at Argentina midfielder Diego Simeone. Some England fans hung effigies of Beckham after losing the last-16 match.

Beckham managed to bounce back and captained the team at the 2002 World Cup under coach Sven-Goran Eriksson.

Beckham tearfully relinquished the England captaincy after the 2006 tournament, when England reached the quarter-finals for the second straight time. He was then dropped from the squad by new coach Steve McClaren, but was restored in the ultimately unsuccessful 2008 European Championship qualifying campaign.

Beckham's international career survived initially in 2010 World Cup qualifying under McClaren's replacement, Fabio Capello, who coached him at Real Madrid.

But Beckham was injured three months before the World Cup in South Africa and went only in a non-playing role as an unofficial coach.

Despite returning to fitness after the tournament, Beckham was dismissed by Capello as being too old for a role in the team, meaning that his appearance as a second-half substitute against Belarus in October 2009 earned him his 115th and last international cap.

Beckham's focus now was securing a spot in Britain's football team at the London Olympics.

He has been included in coach Stuart Pearce's 80-man shortlist that will be whittled down to 18 shortly to form Britain's first Olympic squad since 1960. If chosen, he would be one of the three players over age 23 allowed in each squad.

- AP


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