Mon, Mar 30, 2009 - Page 19 News List

Beckham eyes World Cup glory after caps milestone

AFP , LONDON

David Beckham set his sights on a starring role at the World Cup after earning a record-breaking 109th cap in England’s 4-0 friendly win against Slovakia.

Beckham came on for the second half at Wembley on Saturday to pass Bobby Moore’s record for the most caps by an England out-field player.

Now only goalkeeper Peter Shilton, with 125 caps, stands ahead of Beckham in England’s all-time appearance list.

But the AC Milan star, on loan in Italy from American club LA Galaxy, isn’t concerned by personal landmarks. Instead he is dreaming of playing for England in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, having already featured in 1998, 2002 and 2006.

“The target is just to play, be involved in every game possible,” he said. “Of course I’ve already said I’d love to play in another World Cup — or two!”

Beckham’s first target is to force his way into England’s starting line-up for a crucial World Cup qualifier against the Ukraine at Wembley on Wednesday.

Victory in that game could leave England tantalizingly close to qualification as they already sit top of Group Six with a 100 percent record so far.

With that in mind there are no plans for a big celebration until the job is done.

“It was a good performance against Slovakia but now our minds are on Wednesday against the Ukraine,” he said.

Beckham had feared his England career was over when he was dropped from the team following the 2006 World Cup finals, but has fought his way back into contention and is now a regular member of Fabio Capello’s squad.

“I didn’t think I was going to reach 95 let alone 109 so I’m very proud and very pleased,” Beckham said. “When you grow up, you dream about playing for your country and at Wembley. To play 109 times for England is obviously very special for me and for my family.”

“I won’t give this cap away, I’ll keep this one for myself. It will be in my house in London, locked up!” he said. “But obviously I dedicate it to my family because they are the ones who have been through the ups and downs of my career and been there for the good times and also the bad times.”

Beckham’s presence in the England squad has not pleased everyone in his home country, with some suggesting he make way for younger teammates.

But Beckham’s performance as a second-half substitute against Slovakia saw him made a strong case for regular inclusion.

England were only 1-0 up, through Emile Heskey, when he arrived on the pitch but he soon set up a crucial second for Wayne Rooney and England went on to complete a comfortable victory when Frank Lampard and Rooney again added to the score.

“When you are on the bench you hope to come on and either secure the game or make a difference and produce an assist,” Beckham said. “I was lucky enough to get in positions where I put a couple of good balls in.”

Also See: 2010 FIFA WORLD CUP: Europe’s top nations victorious

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