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Beckham set for Milan return to boost World Cup bid

sports Updated: Oct 15, 2009 17:51 IST

AFP
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David Beckham is on the verge of sealing a second loan move to AC Milan as he bids to cement his place in England's squad for the World Cup in South Africa.

Beckham believes it is 95 per cent certain he will return to the San Siro in November once his commitments with LA Galaxy are completed.

The former Manchester United and Real Madrid midfielder is desperate for one more crack at the World Cup and he knows England coach Fabio Capello will only consider him if he is playing top level football in Europe in the run-up to next year's tournament.

There had been speculation Beckham may choose to return to the English Premier League but instead it seems he is set to rejoin Milan, who he played for on loan last season.

"The move to Milan is close," Beckham said. "I've always said I want to go back there and Milan have said they've wanted me from the time I left there to go back to the United States.

"They are still saying the same now. It is 95 per cent done so I don't see why it is not going to happen now."

Despite no longer being a regular starter, Beckham still brings plenty to the table for England. The 34-year-old's ability at set-pieces is second to none and his enthusiasm and professionalism make him a respected figure in the England camp.

He underlined his value as a second half substitute in England's 3-0 win over Belarus at Wembley on Wednesday.

With England in danger of drifting through their final World Cup qualifier, Beckham came off the bench and set up his side's second goal with virtually his first touch - a short corner converted by Shaun Wright-Phillips.

He also hit a post and laid on a sumptuous pass that Peter Crouch should have finished.

Capello was suitably impressed and said: "Whether Beckham plays five minutes, 20 minutes or half an hour he always plays very well. Sometimes substitutes have a problem to play normally. David always plays well."

Beckham, who didn't feature in Saturday's defeat in Ukraine, earned the man of the match award for his brief cameo role, a decision that surprised even the England star, but he knows that is the type of performance he has to deliver on a regular basis to stay in the squad.

"It was either one of my ex-team mates or my mum or dad," he joked. "I was quite surprised by it but of course I'm honoured to get it as well.

"We all know no-one is guaranteed a place. We all have to prove every game and training session that we want to be in the squad and in the team for every game. Not just for the World Cup, but every qualifier and every time we meet up.

"We know what the manager is like and his feelings about whether you are playing well or not.

"If you are playing well you have a chance to be in the squad and if you're not then you are out."

Frank Lampard, Beckham's England midfield colleague, has no doubts about the positive effect of having Beckham around the squad.

"He has got great quality and enthusiasm. He is not starting always but he still comes over from America," Lampard said.

"He is great to have around the place because of what he has done and the person he is. When he comes on he still does his stuff.

"A lot of players look up to him for what he has done and the way he holds himself.

"I just think it is a great sign for him to travel such a long way for his country. He plays with passion and quality.

"Some players finish their England careers early but David Beckham is still going and a lot of credit to him for that."