Beckham proud to win 100th cap

DAVID Beckham showed he could still play a role for England when he won his 100th cap in a 1-0 defeat to France in a friendly on Wednesday.

The LA Galaxy midfielder looked a little rusty at times but gave a typically hard-working performance at the Stade de France and was involved in much of England’s attacking play before being replaced by David Bentley in the 63rd minute.
The 32-year-old, who made his England debut against Moldova in a World Cup qualifier in September 1996, became only the fifth English player to achieve a century of appearances for his country.
Billy Wright (105 caps) was the first to reach the milestone in 1959 and was subsequently followed by Bobby Charlton (106), Bobby Moore (108) and England’s record appearance holder Peter Shilton (125).
Beckham won his 99th cap in England’s 3-2 home defeat against Croatia in a Euro qualifier at Wembley last November.
“I am very proud of this 100th cap, it does not happen to everybody. It was amazing,” he told reporters.
“It was special to win it here, where (Zinedine) Zidane played, and I have also got a house in France.”
“The most important thing was to prove my fitness and I thought I did. I felt very fresh, a lot fresher than I thought I would be. Tonight I enjoyed myself, that’s the biggest thing.”
Camera flashes sparkled around the stadium when the former Manchester United favourite took his first corner kick, which was cleared by the French defence in the sixth minute.
Beckham then fell just short of netting his 18th goal for his country when he failed to connect at the far post with a low Ashley Cole cross.
Wearing golden boots to mark the milestone, Beckham also got the opportunity to show his defending skills, often switching to a full back position with former United team mate Wes Brown.
“It is something we’ve played with Wes when we were with United. I also used to do it with Gary Neville,” he said.
He picked up a yellow card eight minutes before the interval when his lack of condition forced him to pull Franck Ribery’s shirt.
Beckham saved his team from the threat posed by Nicolas Anelka by beating the Chelsea forward to the ball just before being replaced by Bentley to a standing ovation from both the French and English fans.
His last contribution was a trademark 50-metre crossfield pass to Stewart Downing.
Then his number flashed up on the replacement board and he left applauding the fans who were cheering him.
“David played like I know he can play,” said coach Fabio Capello. “I only substituted him because I wanted to see other players and I know him well.”
France defender William Gallas approached Beckham at fulltime to swap shirts but the England man declined. “He did ask me but I think he forgot what game it was for me,” he told Sky Sports. — Reuters.