David Beckham could match Bobby Moore's England appearance record next week, should coach Fabio Capello follow up on a hint to field him now that he is playing regularly. Capello is putting the final touches of the jigsaw to his squad that shall face Spain in a friendly in Seville on 11 February and Beckham's good form for the San Siro side has put him into the frame for possible selection.
Should Beckham play, he would equal Moore's outfield player record of 108 caps, before possibly breaking it against Slovakia at Wembley on 28 March. Although he has only played three matches for the Serie A giants since arriving on a short-term loan, the former England skipper has been a revelation. Each start has brought more praise and now Milan executive director Adriano Galliani is attempting to broker a deal that would allow Beckham to remain at the San Siro, probably until the end of his amazing career.
The developments must be satisfying for Capello, who informed Beckham last autumn that he could not expect to be picked for England unless he was playing regularly. Capello stood by his words by leaving the former Manchester United star out of the squad that overcame Germany in Berlin last November, after the MLS season had come to an end.
Addressing that problem was why Beckham came to Milan in the first place. And, after watching the 34-year-old in action last week in a league victory over Genoa, Capello praised Beckham's form, and his decision to explore the option of remaining in Milan, words which seem certain to be followed by a place in the squad for Seville.
"I'm very happy for David (Beckham) and for AC Milan," said Capello. "He is a media star and for this reason all the fans spoke about him in this way before he arrived - like a star, not a player. But now he has played three games, and every game has been better. Milan want him to stay, and the fans are very happy for his style of play and the performances for the team."
Meanwhile, Capello is slowly piecing his squad together to face the UEFA EURO 2008 winners, who the Italian regards as the world's number one currently. He will be at West Ham on Sunday, where Wayne Rooney is expected to return for Manchester United after a recent hamstring injury. That good news is no doubt tempered by the fact that Steven Gerrard picked up a similar problem in Liverpool's FA Cup defeat at Everton this week.
"I think England will be strong in Spain. I am very confident in my team," Capello added. "Spain play fantastic football. They are very quick, but I enjoy this kind of challenge."