After spending three years trying to raise the profile of soccer in the United States, David Beckham will now try to plot the World Cup downfall of his adopted homeland.
Beckham, the Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder, has been ruled out of playing in the tournament this summer after tearing his Achilles tendon on March 14. However, England head coach Fabio Capello is determined to recruit Beckham for a coaching and advisory role to provide knowledge of the American players.
While most of the USA squad plies its trade in Europe, several key figures, most notably Beckham's Galaxy teammate Landon Donovan, still play in Major League Soccer.
"There are a number of reasons why Fabio has said he wants David," a source close to the England camp told Yahoo! Sports. "There is David's experience – he has played in three World Cups. There is the respect the other players have for him.
"And, importantly, he has a good picture of many of the American players, the American style of play, their tactics, strengths and weaknesses."
Beckham has often stated his desire to continue to be involved in soccer in a coaching capacity once he retires as a player. It is understood that his role with England would not carry an official title, but the 35-year-old would be required to meet with the squad at least a week before the start of the World Cup.
Capello's men will be based near Rustenburg, where England and the U.S. square off in the opening match for both teams on June 12.
"Nothing has been finalized yet," the source said. "But everyone knows David's commitment to his country and it is hard to imagine he will say no when Capello comes knocking."
Despite his endeavors to promote soccer in America, Beckham has always placed his loyalties to his homeland first. He is seen as a crucial member of the England bid committee to host the 2018 World Cup, which the USA is also aiming for.
"Hopefully this year we will win the greatest prize in sport twice, by winning the World Cup on and off the pitch," Beckham said this week about this summer's World Cup and the 2018 tournament. The 2018 and 2022 hosts will be decided in December.
Beckham's advisory role, which could be agreed and finalized over the next two weeks, would add another intriguing twist to his relationship with Donovan.
A year ago, the pair was at odds following Donovan's critical comments of his teammate in a book about Beckham's stint in MLS. The two resolved their differences and helped the Galaxy reach last year's MLS Cup final.
- David Beckham
- Fabio Capello
- Landon Donovan