Glenn Hoddle says David Beckham can continue playing at the top level for at least another six years.
Hoddle, who gave Beckham his England debut in the 1996 victory over Moldova, believes his imminent move to Major League Soccer side Los Angeles Galaxy - he has signed a five-year £125million deal - should not necessarily detract from his international chances.
Hoddle told BBC Radio Five Live's Sportsweek: "In my day when you hit the 30 mark people started saying your international career may be over but the way they train now their fitness levels are so much better.
"David is a fit young man and one thing he has never relied upon is blistering pace, so he will be able to play until he is 38 or 39 if he wants to.
"I see no reason why he can't keep playing for a long time."
The 32-year-old Beckham's next task will be to help England edge themselves back into the Euro 2008 qualifying reckoning by winning in Estonia on Wednesday - and Hoddle admits that is a must-win game for McClaren.
Hoddle added: "This is a real key game for us because we if we win we will have the momentum going into four games at home. If we draw it is going to be very difficult for us because the pressure will build."
Beckham will join Galaxy in the middle of July - his Real Madrid contract ends on June 30.