McClaren: Beckham's England career set to end

LA Galaxy midfielder David Beckham is facing international retirement with England.

That's the opinion of former Three Lions boss Steve McClaren, who said: "I think it will be difficult for him, at his age and this stage of his career, to maintain the required level of fitness and performance required for international football by playing in America.

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"David has proved many people wrong before, including me, but I think it's going to be difficult. He will have to be judged not only on his performances for LA Galaxy but, if selected for England squads, what he does on the training ground."

Explaining for the first time his decisions to drop and then recall Beckham, McClaren added: 'I had to try to freshen things up. I needed to try to find a core of players who would get us by the hurdles which had prevented progress in the past.

"That meant a new captain and a nucleus of players - the likes of John Terry, Rio Ferdinand, Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard, Wayne Rooney, Michael Owen and Owen Hargreaves - and also introducing younger players with a bit of pace.

"I felt this would be an opportunity to start afresh and make a statement that players like Aaron Lennon, David Bentley, Shaun Wright-Phillips and Joe Cole would get opportunities on the right.

"But the biggest thing was I saw the emergence of Hargreaves during the World Cup as very significant. I envisaged a midfield of Gerrard on the right, Hargreaves, Lampard and Joe Cole, with the younger lads creating healthy competition for places.

"I also felt it would be insulting to someone of Beckham's stature and reputation to put him on the bench. He had been such a great player he deserved better than that."

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