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Man Utd boss Ferguson: Beckham can't change American thinking

Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson can't see LA Galaxy midfielder David Beckham winning over American sports fans.

"In the late '70s I went to America with Aberdeen and there were guys like (Teofilo) Cubillas and (Peter) Shilton there," the Scot said.

"Before that there was Pele, Cruyff, Beckenbauer. It is difficult with David going there - I don't know what kind of impact he can make. David Beckham himself can't change the whole country."

And Ferguson feels the distance between teams affects the impact of football on American society.

"The size of the country makes it difficult," he said.

"In European football, and especially in British football, you can travel easily. "If you are Boston and need to go to Los Angeles it's a six-hour flight. Supporters don't travel so you are missing that rivalry between fans.

"So you have a problem. To make it substantial you would have to go regional but there's not enough teams to have four strong leagues."

Ferguson, who was speaking to an audience at the Citizens Theatre in Glasgow, feels the MLS is also undermined by an exodus of young homegrown talent.

"What you have got in the States is that a lot of kids are playing football in the States and there is nowhere to go," he said.

"The best American players go to Europe very early, like Brad Friedel (at Blackburn), (Brian) McBride and (Clint) Dempsey at Fulham. So that situation doesn't help the American game."

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Tribal Football Staff

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