David Beckham can set a national record for appearances Wednesday when England plays European champion Spain in what will be Fabio Capello's toughest test during an impressive start as England manager.
Beckham can equal Bobby Moore's mark of 108 appearances for
England, the most by a player other than a goalkeeper. Peter
Shilton made 125 appearances in goal.
"(Beckham's) a reference for the English team," said Spain
goalkeeper Iker Casillas, Beckham's former teammate at Real Madrid.
"He brings a lot of leadership and character to the locker room
and I think that hasn't changed to now."
Capello put Beckham on the team after the Los Angeles Galaxy
midfielder moved to AC Milan to strengthen his chances of playing
in the 2010 World Cup. Beckham is looking to turn his two-month
loan into a permanent move.
Capello is off to the best start by an England coach since Alf
Ramsey, who led England to victory at the 1966 World Cup, with
eight wins in 10 games and a single defeat. Spain, the top-ranked
country in FIFA's poll, is on a 28-match unbeaten run dating to
Spain leads Group 5 in World Cup qualifying with 12 points from
four games - three more than closest rival Turkey. England is also
perfect through four games to lead Group 6 by five points over
This the first times the teams have played since spectators at
the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium greeted England's black players with
monkey chants during a 2004 exhibition game.
Spanish players were not allowed to respond to questions by
reporters Tuesday over whether a repeat of those scenes would play
out at the Sanchez Pizjuan stadium.
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