In a week in which Becks won his first title for LA Galaxy, speculation has gathered over his retirement from the game, possibly after an Olympic swan song at London 2012. It seems a perfect time to take a look back at his turbulent career. After 20 years of fame both on and off the pitch, we take on the tough task of picking out some highlights for you.
Born in London to two fanatical Manchester United fans, some say Beckham was destined to play for the Reds from a young age. Having trialed at clubs such as Leyton Orient and Tottenham Hostpur, he began his professional career when he signed for United in 1992.
…Beckham won the League and Cup double,
One of Fergie’s fledglings, he was soon playing alongside other young talents such as Nicky Butt and the two Neville brothers. Despite Alan Hansen’s famous claim that “you can’t win anything with kids”, in the 1994-95 season, United and Beckham won the League and Cup double, while Beckham’s iconic goal against Wimbledon when, spotting goalkeeper Neil Sullivan was off his line, he scored from inside his own half, confirmed his precocious talent.
Having earned his first cap for England in 1996, he retained his place in the 1998 England World Cup squad, and it was here that he was cemented as a household name. A petulant but hardly vicious kick at Diego Simeone in the knockout stages against Argentina saw Beckham controversially given his marching orders. England had to play the rest of the game with 10 men, as usual lost the penalty shootout, and Beckham became the scapegoat for their early World Cup exit.
…testament to his mental strength.
The fact that Beckham managed to overcome the consequent vilification of his character by the British media is testament to his mental strength. Journalists highlighted the hours he spent on the phone to his new show biz girlfriend, Posh Spice aka Victoria Adams, somehow equating this as being responsible for his misdemeanors on the pitch.
Beckham hit back through excellent performances where his exceptional athleticism and brilliant delivery of crosses saw him play a key part in the United team who won the treble that season and by 2000 he had been handed the England captaincy. In a World Cup qualifier for the 2002 tournament, his formidable free-kick in the last minute against Greece almost single-handedly ensured England’s qualification and the dark days of 1998 versus Argentina seemed forgotten.
David Beckham’s profile concludes later today…
Images courtesy of David Beckham