When I’m asked about David Beckham there’s two words that instantly come to mind, respect and legend. Two words I don’t throw about very often, especially when dealing with the modern day footballer but having been fortunate enough to witness the whole of Beckham’s career, there’s no escaping the fact that he deserves our respect and he is a without doubt a United legend.
There will be many Manchester United fans who because of age won’t have witnessed much if any of Beck’s United career, so when I say what I’m about to say you may well recoil in horror. But, and I say this with one hundred per cent honesty, if I had to pick between Beckham and Rooney I’d go for Becks every time. Rooney is loved for his desire and work rate but he’s a mere amateur when it comes to what Beckham offered.
As a footballer Beckham doesn’t receive the credit he deserves from many observers. He genuinely was the best crosser of the ball United & England have ever seen and nobody in world football could deliver a fifty yard pass with the precision and back spin he could – funnily enough something Rooney has also modeled his game on in recent years. Bringing it back to work rate though, he was unparalleled. Neither Beckham or Gary Neville were graced with the greatest pace but their stamina and understanding made them the best right side combination in world football for five years. And who could forget England versus Greece at Old Trafford in 2002 – the game David Beckham single handedly took England to the World Cup in Japan. Again, not many United fans will have seen that game but in my lifetime it’s the one game that stands out where one player really did drive the whole team. It was an immense performance where Beckham was everywhere. His late free kick winning the game and sending us through.
So happy 40th Birthday Becks. To me and many United fans you’ll always have a special place in our hearts. Castigated wrongly and literally hung out to dry by the nation after his sending off in the 1998 World Cup, it was the United faithful who quite rightly stood by one of their own and watched him prove the world wrong the next season when Becks played a huge role in that historic treble winning side.
And when the end came because Sir Alex couldn’t deal with the limelight football’s number one icon brought to his old school approach to football, there was no tantrum from Beckham. He kept his council and held his tongue, where others would have blown a fuse at being thrown out of the club he’s always loved.
So big respect to our Legend, Sir David Beckham.
By Mark Goldbridge