Soccer: Beckham wants to be Eriksson's general

Thursday, March 01, 2001
David Beckham has stressed his desire to remain England captain and paid tribute to the immediate impact Sven-Goran Eriksson has had on his players.

Beckham highlighted Eriksson's communication skills and the fact that he appears to have the same ability often ascribed to Terry Venables - to convey tactical messages with simplicity.

As for his own future as England captain, though, it was Beckham who sent Eriksson a clear message of intent.

Eriksson did not specify a time frame when he made Beckham captain for the win against Spain, although he did reveal he hopes it will be the start of a long reign.

The Swede will have noted that Sol Campbell, who took over the armband at half-time when Beckham was replaced, played with assurance while the midfielder was - by his standards - anonymous.

Even so Beckham, who believes he can grow into the role, still remains favourite to be captain for the forthcoming World Cup qualifiers against Finland and Albania.

He declared: "It was great. Captaining England for the first half was something special.

"I enjoyed the experience and I'd like it to carry on. I hope I can captain England for the Finland game."

Beckham led the side out for the first time in Italy last November and part of the reason he kept the job is that Eriksson did not want to make too many immediate changes.

"It was great to have the armband still and walk out there in front of so many fans," said the 25-year-old Manchester United midfielder.

"The manager said there was no reason to change it and told me to go out and enjoy it. It meant a lot to me.

"I talked a little bit more on the pitch than I usually do. The lads showed out there that we can play good football and score good goals."