x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Capello: Beckham must play in Europe

The LA Galaxy midfielder needs to return to Europe for the second half of next season to have any hope of playing at the World Cup, the England manager said.

David Beckham needs to return to Europe for the second half of next season to have any hope of playing at the World Cup, England manager Fabio Capello has said. "Beckham knows well that if he doesn't return to a big European championship in December he'll have no chance for the World Cup," Capello was quoted as saying by La Gazzetta dello Sport. The 34-year-old LA Galaxy midfielder won back his England place during a loan stint in Italy with AC Milan in the second half of last season. Beckham, who is in the squad for tomorrow's friendly away to Holland, repeatedly expressed his desire to stay in Milan, earning him the wrath of the Galaxy supporters, and this latest development could rile those fans even further.

Darren Fletcher has stood by his decision to reject Scotland manager George Burley's plea to miss Manchester United's Community Shield defeat against Chelsea. Burley was desperate for the midfielder to sit out Sunday's match at Wembley in order to keep him fresh for tomorrow's crucial World Cup qualifier in Norway. But Fletcher - who will captain his country in Oslo - feared losing his place in the United pecking order if he complied.

Fletcher, who started the game and came off with 15 minutes remaining, insisted he is fit and ready to help Scotland in arguably their most important match for two years. He told the Daily Record: "I've got to try to win a place in the United team and there is a lot of competition around the squad. I don't want to be skipping United games, but I was always going to be available for Scotland. There was never any doubt."

* With agencies