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Beckham steps down as England skipper

"After 6 years, having been captain for 58 games, I feel the time is right to move on as we enter in a new era under Mclaren," announced a tearful David Beckham.

india Updated: Jul 03, 2006 14:24 IST

David Beckham quit as the England captain on Sunday, after his side lost in the World Cup quarterfinals to Portugal.

A tearful Beckham read from a statement in front of a crowded news conference in England's training camp in southern Germany on Sunday, stressing that he wanted to continue playing for England.

"On November 15, 2000, Peter Taylor gave me the greatest honour of my career in making me captain of England and fulfilling my childhood dream," Beckham said.

"Now almost six years later, having been captain for 58 of my 95 caps, I feel the time is right to pass on the armband as we enter in a new era under Steve McClaren."

Beckham, 31, left the field with a leg injury in the 52nd minute of Saturday's loss at Gelsenkirchen and was in tears on the sideline.

England played for almost an hour with 10 men after Wayne Rooney was given a red card in the 62nd minute. They still managed to hold the Portuguese to 0-0 after 120 minutes.

Beckham could not participate in the subsequent penalty shootout, which Portugal won 3-1.

Beckham said he had decided "some time ago" to quit as captain after this World Cup, his third. "This decision has been the most difficult of my career to date," he said. "But after discussing it with my family and those closest to me, I feel the time is right."

Beckham walked out immediately after reading his statement, getting loud applause.

McClaren takes over as England coach from Sven-Goran Eriksson in August.

"It has been an honour and a privilege to have captained our country and I want to stress that I wish to continue to play for England and look forward to helping both the new captain and Steve McClaren in any way I can."

First capped at age 21 by Glenn Hoddle against Moldova in September 1996, Beckham was named England's captain for the first time by caretaker coach Taylor for a friendly in Italy. He took over the captaincy on a permanent basis from Alan Shearer, who retired after the 2000 European championships.

Beckham ranks No 4 among England captains in terms of games played as skipper. Billy Wright, from 1948 to 1959, and Bobby Moore, from 1963 to 1973, each captained the national team 90 times. Bryan Robson, 1982 to 1991, was the skipper 65 times.