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September 12, 2009

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Capello intends to take Beckham to South Africa

ENGLAND coach Fabio Capello has given a strong indication that David Beckham will make it to a fourth World Cup, hailing the former captain's ability to bring the squad together. The 34-year-old Beckham made his 114th international appearance as England swept past Croatia 5-1 last Wednesday to qualify with two games to spare.

By remaining firmly in Capello's plans, the midfielder could break England's all-time appearance record at South Africa 2010. He needs to feature 12 more times to surpass the mark held by retired goalkeeper Peter Shilton.

"He is always with us because for me he is one of the most important players," Capello said on Thursday. "He is good in the group, he is good in every moment during the training. Some players are important for the position and morale of the group."

But to make Capello's cut, in January the Los Angeles Galaxy player will have to rejoin AC Milan, which is keen to take him back, or find another top European side to play for in the months before the finals start in June.

If Beckham does avoid injury or a marked deterioration in form, he could be taking Shaun Wright-Phillips' place in the 23-man squad.

Theo Walcott and Aaron Lennon are Capello's speedy star performers on the right flank, but Beckham provides a different option with his precision crosses and set-pieces.

Having been left out of Italy's squad for the 1978 World Cup, Capello knows the pain of missing out on a major tournament.

"I played the qualification for the Argentina World Cup but I didn't go to Argentina," he recalled at a central London hotel. "I wasn't injured. I just wasn't good enough and I heard on TV that I was not in the squad.

"I don't know how I will (tell the players) but I have to choose the best players in the best form."


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