David Beckham is one step closer to winning his 100th England cap after the LA Galaxy midfielder was named by Fabio Capello to the 30-man provisional squad for the Three Lions’ friendly against France in Paris next week.
Capello sent his second-in-command, Franco Baldini, to Dallas last week to watch Beckham in the Galaxy’s pre-season friendly against FC Dallas, a game in which he wasn’t too impressive by most accounts. Baldini must’ve seen something positive to report back to Capello to include him in this squad, and Capello also knows exactly what Becks can do from their time together at Real Madrid.
Even so, Beckham faces some stiff competition for his wide right midfield spot in the form of David Bentley and Shaun Wright-Phillips, and both Joe Cole and Ashley Young are capable of playing on the right as well. Based on current form, you would have to say that Cole and Young will earn starts next week but obviously nothing is set in stone yet.
Capello will trim the squad down to 23 players on Saturday afternoon, and it will be interesting to see who he keeps and who he leaves out. There are only a few players — Steven Gerrard, David James, Jermain Defoe, and Joe Cole — who should be locks to make the 23-man roster.
I was pleased to see Defoe rewarded with a call-up because he’s been playing so well recently for Portsmouth, and David James has looked great in goal all season.
It will also be interesting to see who Capello names as captain. Gerrard led the side out against Switzerland at Wembley last month, but Capello has said that he’d rotate the captaincy until World Cup 2010 qualifiers begin this fall. If I had to guess, John Terry would wear the armband next week, but I could see Rio Ferdinand or David James having the honor as well.
Provisional 30-man roster (club):
Goalkeepers: David James (Portsmouth), Scott Carson (Aston Villa), Chris Kirkland (Wigan)
Defense: Wayne Bridge, Ashley Cole, and John Terry (Chelsea), Wes Brown and Rio Ferdinand (Manchester United), Jonathan Woodgate (Tottenham), David Wheater (Middlesbrough), Matthew Upson (West Ham), Glen Johnson (Portsmouth), Joleon Lescott (Everton)
Midfield: Steven Gerrard (Liverpool), Gareth Barry and Ashley Young (Aston Villa), David Bentley (Blackburn), Joe Cole, Frank Lampard, and Shaun Wright-Phillips (Chelsea), David Beckham (LA Galaxy), Owen Hargreaves (Manchester United), Stewart Downing (Middlesbrough), Jermaine Jenas (Tottenham)
Forwards: Theo Walcott (Arsenal), Wayne Rooney (Manchester United), Michael Owen (Newcastle), Gabriel Agbonlahor (Aston Villa), Peter Crouch (Liverpool), Jermain Defoe (Portsmouth)