David Beckham hit back on Friday
at suggestions that he might be selected for the British Olympic football side at the London Games because of his celebrity status
rather than on merit alone.
"I've never said it's disrespectful but it's kind of a
question I've always felt is," the former England captain told
reporters on a visit to meet children at a school in Athens when
asked about his prospects.
"Throughout my career I've been pretty successful and played
for some pretty big teams... and managers without sentiment.
"When you've played for managers like Alex Ferguson and
Fabio Capello and Sven-Goran Eriksson...they don't pick players
because they want to fill the stadium with people or sell
"I don't want to be picked on a shirt sale or a stadium
filler," added the 37-year-old LA Galaxy player, part of a
London delegation in the Greek capital to bring the Olympic
flame back to Britain.
"I want to be picked because of what I can bring to the
team," said the moustachioed veteran.
Beckham, a global sporting celebrity who drew one of the
loudest cheers of the night when he arrived at Thursday's formal
flame handover ceremony and was introduced as 'Sir David', is no
longer in contention for a place in the England side.
However he is strongly tipped to be one of three 'over-age'
players in the first united British side to compete at an
Olympics since 1960.
Team GB manager Stuart Pearce recently went to Los Angeles
to watch him play, in a game Beckham said could have been both
better and worse.
"I want to play. That's my main objective," he said. "I
don't want to go as a coach."
The former Manchester United midfielder said he would be fit
"I've never played in an Olympic Games before and never
taken part in an Olympic Games so I would love to, I'd love to
be part of the team.
"I am still training and playing throughout the season," he
added. "We are only nine games into our season, I'm playing well
and feeling fit. Fitness all the way through my career has not
been a problem. It won't be leading up to the Games.
"If I am selected I will be in good condition," he said.
Beckham, confident he would be able to get his hands on
tickets for the Games for his excited children, said the flame
handover ceremony had given him goosebumps and a taste of what
he might expect.
He has yet to be told whether he will be carrying the torch
on a leg of the relay, but he will light the first cauldron in
Britain later on Friday after stepping off the plane in
East London-born, and growing up not far from the new
Olympic Park in Stratford, Beckham said it would be truly
special if he could ultimately carry the torch through London.
"Everyone knows I love representing my country," said the
man with 115 caps for England. "That's one of the reasons why
I've always said that I wouldn't probably retire from the
England team because I always want to be available."
Beckham congratulated England manager Roy Hodgson for his
"very clever move" in appointing his former Manchester United
team mate and 'Best Man' Gary Neville to the England coaching
staff for Euro 2012.
"Roy Hodgson is a brave man," he grinned.
"I think it's great. Gary's knowledge throughout the game,
he's been in big tournaments, played for England for years, I
think it's a very clever thing but also great for the players
Beckham hoped England could go all the way in Poland and
Ukraine in June and July.
"It's a new team, young players and one of the first times
where we've gone into a big competition without huge, huge
expectation on our shoulders. I think that could be a good thing
for the team."
Borussia Dortmund's Mario Gotze ruled out of Champions League final against Bayern Munich
Malaga coach Manuel Pellegrini will leave the La Liga club at the end of the current season
Stoke City and manager Tony Pulis part company by mutual agreement after seven years
Andy Carroll pulls out of England's friendly internationals against Ireland and Brazil
Ten years on, the legends speak to FFT
Your questions answered by an A to Z of legends
He's here, he's there, he's...
The cost of Premier League away travel
Nike CR7 IX for you
FourFourTwo is brought to you by Haymarket Consumer Media & FourFourTwo is part of Haymarket Sport
| International Licensing | © Haymarket Media Group 2010