Fabio Capello believes David Beckham's love for his country can prove invaluable at this year's FIFA World Cup™.

Although Beckham will not be able to play in South Africa due to the achilles injury he picked up on AC Milan duty earlier this year, it still looks likely Capello will find a meaningful role for the 35-year-old.

As Beckham outlined at the FIFA World Cup bid handover in Zurich yesterday, he is not entirely sure what job he is going to be given. However, in his two-and-a-half years in the job, Capello has noted an enthusiasm for the England cause which is not easily replicated.

"David played a short time in a lot of games for me," said Capello. "He could have gone on holiday or stayed at home with his family but he preferred to be with us. That is the reason why I always selected him.

"He is a role model. There was no obligation to stay with us but he always did. That was really important. He has a love for the shirt."

It could be claimed Beckham will become a non-coaching equivalent of Stuart Pearce, perhaps not quite a tub-thumper, by transmitting a hunger for the England cause that will be required when things start to get tricky.

One of those occasions could arrive at England's training camp in Austria next week. Whilst the inclusions of uncapped duo Adam Johnson and Michael Dawson are easily explained away by their outstanding club form in the second half of the season, it might be less easy for Capello to sell the selections of Ledley King and, more pertinently, Jamie Carragher.

Neither man played as much as a minute of the 18-month qualifying campaign, remaining at home as England were trekking their way to outposts such as Belarus and Kazakhstan.

King's absence was purely down to his chronic knee problems. Carragher though had retired, which could create some resentment given he has now performed his spectacular U-turn.

"The spirit will not be damaged," said Capello. "We have time for players who have not been with us to understand what to do in every moment. What I will ask them in meetings is to understand this.

"The fans also have to remember they must support England, not only one player. I hope they won't boo him. During the World Cup I want the fans to help us.

"Carragher had to think about it because when we started he said 'no'. We tried to convince him four or five times because he is a leader on the pitch."

Having spent so much time at the start of his reign insisting he would only pick players in form, by definition players who could get into their club sides on a regular basis, Capello seems to have bent his own rules a little to include the likes of Emile Heskey and Peter Crouch.

The Italian rejects this train of thought, insisting the reasons why specific individuals have not been in their club sides is due to tiredness after an arduous campaign.

Such a statement can clearly not be made about Johnson, who appears to be in direct confrontation with Joe Cole for a place in the 23-man squad Capello will confirm on 1 June, 24 hours before departure for their date with destiny.

"Johnson has improved a lot because he played Championship in the first half of this season. Then played a lot of games for Manchester City and played well," said Capello.

"He had improved a lot and had confidence, not just in easy games but also against Manchester United and Tottenham, and other really important games. It is an important sign for me because it means the confidence of the players is really good."