LOS ANGELES (AFP) - David Beckham expects to play at least half a game for the Los Angeles Galaxy against D.C. United here Wednesday in a semi-final of the Superliga tournament, the English midfielder said Tuesday.
Beckham took part in a full training session with the Galaxy on Tuesday, his first with the US club since arriving last month from Real Madrid. His sore left ankle has kept him sitting on the bench more than playing for a month.
"It still feels unstable to a certain extent, but it feels stable enough to actually play in a game and see if I can take it," Beckham said.
"I think I can at least play half a game. It's important for me, important for the team that I at least get on the pitch because it has been quite a while since I arrived and I haven't trained much."
Worse yet, he has not played before crowds in Toronto and New England that bought tickets mainly to see the England star, who signed a five-year deal worth a potential 250 million dollars to try and boost football in US markets.
Beckham's injury has left fans booing in Toronto and suburban Boston and with a Major League Soccer match set for Sunday at New York, he can ill afford to disappoint more fans and hope to live up to his much-hyped reputation.
Beckham has played only twice since arriving a month ago, entering as a 78th-minute reserve in a friendly against English Premiership side Chelsea and playing 18 minutes in a loss at D.C. United last week.
Beckham, who missed three prior Superliga matches, said his match against Chelsea set his recovery from a June 6 injury back a week.
"I have to let sort of nature take its course and try to get myself as fit enough as soon as possible and make sure it's right," he said.
"I don't want to push it and then be out another five or six weeks because I wanted to play 20 minutes on the field. It has to be right."
Galaxy coach Frank Yallop said he would decide about a possible Beckham start or second-half entry until the day of the match.
"I would think it's going to be a half at least ... and if he can go more than that, great," Yallop said. "If he starts the game, knowing David, he'll want to stay on and keep playing."
Beckham said his health is the most important factor in looking at taking the field for the Galaxy.
"If I'm not right, I wouldn't play. That's the way I've always been," said Beckham. "It's a semifinal but obviously if I'm not right, then it doesn't matter if it's a semifinal or a league decider or anything."
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