He's No Nobby Stiles
David Beckham may not save U.S. soccer - but he'll look good not doing it
By Richard Whittaker,
10:51AM, Mon. Apr. 2, 2007
When David Beckham signed a five-year, $25 million contract with the L.A. Galaxy, the buzz was that he would give American soccer the shove it needed to become a serious international force. Now Reuters is asking the really important question about Becks - will he make it more stylish? (Hint: They're not talking ball control.)
Not that this is a new issue for the Brit player's career. There's always been concerns that he's more a clothes horse than a dedicated player. Beckham, for all the hype, was never a true great of the beautiful game on a par with George Best, Gary Linneker, or the two Bobbies - Charleton and Moore. He is too often a one-trick pony who depends on his corner and place-kick skills. In his time at Manchester United, his shortcomings and sporadic short fuse were covered up by the genius midfield of Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs. While captain of the 2006 England World Cup squad, he used bizarre 3-3-3-1 and 3-4-2-1 formations designed to set up corners rather than score goals. It often left Peter Crouch desperately trying to score goals with no backup. Becks' time at Real Madrid was marked by injuries, benching, and a very unremarkable score card.
Man U manager Sir Alex Ferguson (often not a fan of the man they call Goldenballs) quickly realized that Beckham's greatest skill is product endorsement and selling T-shirts. $250 million over five years? That's a lot of cotton he has to shift.
Of course, this could all just be a yearning for the days when footballers had a face like a bag of mixed nuts.