Capello: Beckham return unlikely
The 35-year-old missed the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ through injury but ended up being part of the back-up team in South Africa because of the influence he has over the current group of players.
However, even when he recovers from his Achilles injury, it seems Beckham will not be required for the attempt to reach UEFA EURO 2012. "I say thank you very much for helping me at the World Cup but probably he is a little bit old," Capello told ITV ahead of tonight's friendly with Hungary at Wembley.
It seems a low-key end to such a high-profile career, although the manner of the announcement is in keeping with Capello's straightforward management style. Beckham is now likely to end his international career with 115 caps, the most number for any outfield player, but 10 short of Peter Shilton's overall record.
Beckham's injury ended his hopes of becoming the first Englishman to appear in four FIFA World Cup finals. However, he did make his mark over three FIFA World Cup appearances, famously getting sent off for a petulant kick at Diego Simeone during the 1998 last-16 clash with Argentina.
Although vilified for that action on his return to England, Beckham had the strength of character to recover and went on to become captain of his country, first under temporary boss Peter Taylor, then Sven-Goran Eriksson.
Beckham skippered his country in three major tournaments - the World Cups of 2002 and 2006, plus UEFA EURO 2004. Yet the Three Lions were unable to get any further than the quarter-finals in any of those tournaments, and it was a tearful Beckham who quit the captaincy in June 2006.
Arguably the most famous moment of Beckham's England career did not come at a major tournament at all, but in the 2002 qualifier against Greece at Old Trafford. Trailing and heading for the play-offs as the match entered injury time, England were awarded a free-kick which, to a crescendo of noise, Beckham curled into the net to send his country to the FIFA World Cup.