I only caught a bit of the more or less meaningless England versus Belarus match, as England was already through, the game was a practice run. But it just so happened that I flipped on the match on Fox Soccer right when Beckham entered the pitch.
And the bearded Beckham had an immediate impact, as he played a short corner to Shaun Wright-Phillips at the top of the box, who beat his man and shot the ball low and just past the Belarus keeper.
But it wasn’t just this play that stood out. It was Beckham’s overall energy.
Beckham is someone who always seeks the ball out and asks for it, not a lot of players do this. He will check back for the ball from the middle or out wide, from the front or in the back. He moves all over the place in order to get into the game and create chances for his team. In this game he served long balls right to Crouch’s chest. He sprayed the ball out wide to the feet of teammates. He even very nearly chipped the ball through to Lampard. It was no wonder he was man of the match. Becks can play, whether he’s clean shaven or bearded.
"I was a bit surprised. It was like Obama winning the Nobel prize after 10 months as President. Beckham was on the field for just half an hour.''
Capello, however, went on to praise the manner in which Beckham always makes an impact following a victory which made it nine wins out of 10 for England in a convincing World Cup qualifying campaign. Capello said: "Whether Beckham plays five minutes, 20 minutes or half an hour he always plays very well. Sometimes substitutes have a problem to play normally. David always plays well.''
Beckham nearly scored in the end, and probably should have. Surprisingly, it would have been his first goal at Wembley Stadium. Here are the game's highlights: