Bungling Capello didn't tell Beckham his England career was over before blabbing on TV
Published 23:12 11/08/10 By Mike Walters
Blundering Fabio Capello called time on David Beckham's England career last night - without even telling him first.
Three Lions coach Capello escaped the wrath of Wembley as England scraped home in their hour of atonement after the World Cup flop in South Africa.
But in a pre-match TV interview, Capello revealed Beckham's 115-cap international career was over, insisting he was "too old" for a recall at 35 - but Beckham, 5,000 miles away in Los Angeles, knew NOTHING about it.
The most-capped outfield player in England's history was forced to issue a statement through his agents, revealing there had been "no discussions" about retirement with Capello and insisting he will "always be available" to play for his country.
But an unrepentant Capello's only concession to the former England captain and marketing phenomenon was the half-baked promise of a walk-on part in a friendly next year to say farewell.
Beckham, crocked by a ruptured Achilles tendon injury while on loan at AC Milan, had to settle for a place on the bench as Capello's celebrity cheerleader at the World Cup.
But after resolving to play on until he was 40, incorporating the 2012 Olympics and the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, Capello brought the curtain crashing down on him with crass insensitivity.
In his pre-match revelation last night, Capello said: "I say thank you very much for helping me at the World Cup, but he is probably a bit too old. Thank you, David."
When asked if he had afforded Beckham the courtesy of a phone call, Capello admitted after the 2-1 win against Hungary: "No - but I think I will speak with him. We tried to speak with him.
"I think David knows that he has no future with the national team because we have to change. Yes, he's going to be shocked - but I have to change everything. I have to look for new players, I have to think about the future. Only eight people who played in the World Cup are here.
"David is a fantastic player, he was really important. But age is important for all people.
"I hope, when he is fit, he can play in a friendly here at Wembley to say bye-bye and thank you very much, but I won't pick him for any more competitive games. We need players for the future."
Beckham, who has never settled for a wigwam where a circus big top was available, would not have wanted to end his 14-year international career in such a low-key, perfunctory manner.
Skipper Gerrard led the tributes to Beckham last night, saying: "He has legendary status without a doubt. He's put in a long shift as an England player and he's produced some fantastic performances and some fantastic memories.
"I've learned a lot form David and it's been a pleasure to play alongside him. If he has played his last game he will be missed on and off the pitch because he's a great guy.
"I don't know whether Fabio Capello has spoken to David, I don't know what's happened there. But you never know with David - I'm sure if he hears that news it will drive him on to prove people wrong and get back in the England set-up."