London, Sept.12 : Former England football captain David Beckham is now resigned to not being a regular in the England squad following the heroic performances of youngster Theo Walcott against Andorra and Croatia.
Conceding publicly for the first time that he can no longer consider himself anything other than a squad player within the England set-up, Beckham was quoted by The Guardian as saying: "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 any more."
Walcott, wearing the No 7 shirt that Beckham made his own, became the youngest player to score a hat-trick for England as he ran riot against opponents ranked fifth in the world.
The 19-year-old's style, all fleet-footed pace and trickery, is the polar opposite of Beckham's, yet Walcott has admitted to having idolized the L A Galaxy midfielder and it was the veteran, 14 years his senior, who replaced him late on in Zagreb to earn his 105th cap.
"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. Of course you need experience, but we have that with other players and Theo has played in some big games for Arsenal.
If he plays like that and scores like he did, as well as creating the chances he does, he will frighten opponents. He'll put any defender to shame. 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 Ars¨ne Wenger looks after his players. I'd just tell him to enjoy it," said Beckham.
Beckham's career has encompassed 12 years with the national team. At 33 the midfielder retains his threat from dead-ball situations, though it is only upon his experience that England may choose to lean from now on. Walcott represents the future.
Story first published: Friday, September 12, 2008, 15:43 [IST]
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