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Beckham backs Neville as England coach

David Beckham has hailed his old Manchester United team-mate Gary Neville's appointment as an England coach as a positive step. Beckham said Neville's past experience of problems at major tournaments, and the fact he is not afraid to speak out, could stand England and boss Roy Hodgson in good stead for Euro 2012.

"I think it's great. Gary has knowledge throughout the game," said Beckham.

"He's been in big tournaments, he's played for England for many years.

"Gary has always been very vocal about many things. He's had the experience of being through tournaments and being disappointed in tournaments and knowing what he thinks have been the problems - that's why it's a clever move and great for the team.

"Let's hope we go out there and we're successful. It's a new team, young players.

"It's one of the first times we have gone into a big competition without huge, huge expectation on our shoulders - that could maybe be a good thing for the team."

Beckham, speaking in Athens where he has been part of London 2012's official delegation for the Olympic torch handover, joked: "Roy Hodgson is a brave man" and said he hoped England could go all the way in Poland and Ukraine.

"(Neville's appointment) is a very clever thing but it's also great for the players and the manager," he added.

"To have someone with his knowledge as well as Roy's knowledge. It's a very clever thing to do. I wish Gary the best of luck.

"I hope we can go all the way - that has obviously always been our main objective in every competition that we have gone in to. You do not go in to a competition thinking 'let's see if we can make the quarters and see what happens'.

"You always go in thinking you can go all the way. Whether it happens, which obviously it has not happened in the last quite few years, that always remains the objective."

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Dave Williams

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