- Associated Press - Thursday, August 12, 2010

LONDON (AP) - David Beckham will reject the chance to make one final appearance for England, a person familiar with the former captain’s plans said Thursday.

Coach Fabio Capello announced Wednesday that the 35-year-old Beckham was too old to continue playing competitively for England, but offered him an opportunity to say farewell to fans in an exhibition match.

Beckham, who is recovering from an Achilles’ tendon injury that denied him a trip to a fourth World Cup, has played 115 times for England, second only to goalkeeper Peter Shilton on the country’s all-time appearance list.

And the Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder has said repeatedly that he wouldn’t retire from England duty while still playing soccer.


“It would seem strange to say you are not retiring then to signal your retirement in a benefit match,” the person familiar with Beckham’s plans told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity on Thursday because Beckham has yet to announce his plans. “It’s not going to happen.”

So revered is Beckham in England that local media lashed out at Capello for essentially retiring him on TV rather than notifying him directly.

In a hostile media conference after England’s 2-1 victory against Hungary on Wednesday at Wembley Stadium, Capello backtracked and said Beckham could end his 14-year international in a friendly match _ possibly in November against France.

But when Beckham was ruled out of the June 11-July 11 World Cup after surgery on his left Achilles’ tendon in March, Capello had insisted that he could still play a part in the 2012 European Championship.

“I hope he will be fit for the Euros because he is always one of the best players,” Capello said.

Such confusion from Capello has prompted the volatile British media to lash out at the Italian, who is already under fire following the team’s second-round exit at the World Cup.

The Daily Mirror called Capello “Dumb And Dumber” and The Daily Telegraph described this as “Another Fine Mess.”

“Blundering England manager Fabio Capello’s battered reputation sank even further,” the Daily Express wrote Thursday.

British Prime Minister David Cameron on Thursday paid tribute to Beckham, who made his England debut in 1996.

“We will all remember some of those great free kicks, some of those great moments that he’s been responsible for,” Cameron said. “I’m sure lots of people will be sad that he’s not going to be playing for England again.”

Beckham has never won the international honors to put him alongside the likes of 1966 World Cup winners Bobby Moore and Bobby Charlton in the pantheon of true England greats, but he arguably contributed more to the national side over the past 14 years than any other player.

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