- Associated Press - Thursday, August 12, 2010

LONDON (AP) - The world’s most sought-after soccer player is no longer wanted by his national team coach.

David Beckham’s celebrity status, endorsement potential and good looks have often overshadowed his huge contribution to the England national team, but coach Fabio Capello said the 35-year-old Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder will no longer be picked because he is too old.

On Thursday, the volatile British media lashed out at Capello while British Prime Minister David Cameron praised the iconic Beckham.

“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 made his England debut in 1996 and has played 115 times for his country, including in three World Cups. He sat out the World Cup in South Africa because of Achilles’ tendon surgery.

Last week, AC Milan announced that it would not be taking Beckham on loan again because of his age.

But the remarks from Capello may sting more because the Italian made his comments on television rather than telling Beckham. That seems to be what really got the local press upset, with The Daily Mirror calling Capello “Dumb And Dumber” and The Telegraph describing it as “Another Fine Mess.”

Former England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson was regularly criticized for supposedly being enamored by Beckham’s celebrity, but the media is attacking Capello for not making Beckham a special case.

Capello did offer Beckham the prospect of a farewell appearance in an exhibition match _ possibly in November against France _ but Thursday’s papers were still filled with fury against a coach already under fire for a second-round exit from this year’s World Cup.

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

Fabio has learned nothing from World Cup fiasco,” The Daily Mirror said.

Beckham is second only to goalkeeper Peter Shilton on England’s all-time appearance list. While he never won the international honors to put him alongside the likes of Bobby Moore and Bobby Charlton in the pantheon of true England greats, he arguably contributed more to the national side over the past 14 years than any other player.

Still, Beckham is well acquainted with the highs and lows of international soccer. He was blamed for England’s elimination from the 1998 World Cup for his petulant red card against Argentina, but scored the winning goal against the same team at the World Cup four years later.

He responded to jeering at the 2000 European Championship with an obscene hand gesture to England fans, but was lauded by the same supporters little more than a year later when his last-minute free kick against Greece secured a place at the 2002 World Cup.

The latest revelation already has some speculating that this may not be the end of Beckham’s international career, especially if Capello’s time in charge ends soon.

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