Beckham: I must be physically ready
© AFP

David Beckham, who is just one match away from winning his coveted 100th England cap, admitted on Wednesday he has his work cut out to be fit enough to represent his country against France next month. Three Lions head coach Fabio Capello overlooked him for his first match in charge against Switzerland on the grounds that the 32-year-old was not match fit.

Now Beckham is racing against time to prove his worth in time for England's friendly against Les Bleus on 26 March in Paris.

"I would love to reach the 100 caps, but I have to be physically ready to be part of the team," the former England captain said. "All I've done is training. I have no match fitness."

Beckham and his club, Los Angeles Galaxy, arrived in Korea Republic on Tuesday and will play an exhibition match against FC Seoul on Saturday. If he makes 100 caps, Beckham would be only the fifth Englishman to achieve the feat.

He said he understands Capello's decision not to pick him against Switzerland. "I've played for Capello before, and he's a great manager," Beckham said.

"He is a manager that will pick players that are fit enough. I understand he selected others who played more games." Capello has assured Beckham that he still figures in his plans, if he can prove his fitness.

'I hope the fans enjoy it'
In the meantime, Beckham is focused on his pre-season preparations with Seoul the first stop on an Asian tour that will also take the Galaxy to Shanghai for a match on 5 March, with a 9 March date in Hong Kong also pencilled in. "We're still two weeks into our pre-season and fitness wise, we're getting there slowly," Beckham said.

"We're looking forward to the game on March 1. I am very excited to play here before all the fans. We know Korea is a country that's very proud and passionate about football.

"It's going to be a difficult game because of some talented players here. But we'll give 100 per cent like we always do and enjoy the game. I hope fans enjoy it too."

FC Seoul, three-time champions of the Korean K-League, faced Manchester United in an exhibition last July and lost 4-0. Coach Senol Gunes said things will be different this time.

"We have fewer injuries than last year, and our guys are well prepared after weeks of training," commented the Turkish tactician. "There are still things we need to work on, but we're close to 100 per cent heading into this game."