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Beckham ready for double duty

18 August 2007 02:44

NEW YORK (AFP) - Football star David Beckham insisted again on Friday that the long travel required for his international duty won't negatively affect his performance either for England or the Los Angeles Galaxy.

"I don't think it would affect my performance for my country nor the Galaxy," said Beckham, who joined the Major League Soccer club last month.

"I've handled the travelling pretty well so far. It's something that I've not being used to in my career. Playing in Europe, we've only had to travel an hour, two hours to play."

The 32-year-old midfielder, in New York for the Galaxy's Saturday match with the New York Red Bulls, will travel to England Sunday to play against Germany in a friendly at Wembley on Wednesday. He will then fly back the following day to Los Angeles for a game against Los Angeles rivals Chivas USA in the evening.

"I haven’t done that since I was probably eight years, nine years old when we played games Saturdays and Sundays. It’s definitely going to be difficult," Beckham admitted. "Hopefully I can have some rest on the plane. Everybody knows I want to play as many games possible for England."

Despite its friendly tag, Beckham said any match against Germany is serious business.

"I’m not sure any game at Wembley against Germany is a friendly," he said. "They’re a great team. They’ve got great tradition. Last time we played them at Wembley, they beat us 1-0."

Beckham, who arrived Stateside nursing a left ankle injury and has therefore gotten off to a slow start in the MLS, scored his first goal for the Galaxy in their SuperLiga semi-final against DC United on Wednesday, striking with a free kick in the 27th minute.

"I was a little tired after the game," he said. "My first training session was on Tuesday and my first game was on Wednesday. That’s the first time I ran and kicked the ball like I wanted. Hopefully my ankle will hold up like it did. It felt good. It felt strong."

In Wednesday's match, Beckham took over as captain, a title previously held by US striker Landon Donovan.

"David and Landon had a discussion," Galaxy head coach Frank Yallop said. Landon was honored to pass the captaincy to David who has earned the right to be captain at all the teams he’s played on, including this one. It was a great gesture by Landon and greatly accepted by David."

Asked if he was becoming familiar with the MLS style of play, the former Manchester United and Real Madrid standout said he still had work to do.

"My knowledge of MLS is not as good as it was for European teams. I’m still learning. I came to America not only to be a player, but to be an ambassador and take football to another level.

"I’m not silly enough to sit up here and say it’s going to become bigger than baseball, basketball or American football," Beckham added. "If we can raise it to a certain level, to a level that it’s never been. I think so far we’re succeeding."

Drawing paparazzi like movie stars, Beckham and Spice Girl wife Victoria regularly find their way onto tabloid and magazine covers. Yet, Beckham sees the glitz and glamour as an advantage for the 11-year-old American league.

"It’s not a bad thing to have the celebrity side come out in the sport," he said. "The attention we get is a bonus for MLS. Part of the world had never heard of MLS until now. We’ve had sell out crowds, that hasn’t happened for a number of years in the MLS. We have to keep it going and not let it die down."

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