The apologists have seized on an excuse for Beckham's clay feet: it's all Capello's fault.
Or is it?
Capello has dropped Beckham before, then recalled him, at Real Madrid. You would have thought Beckham would have reminded Fabio of that.
Well, maybe Beckham is just Capello's bitch. But Capello is objectively wrong about MLS preventing Beckham from maintaining the standard necessary for the English national team, faint praise that may be. In the time between signing for the Galaxy in January 2007, and his departure for Milan, Beckham got twelve caps:
June 6, 2007
July 1, 2007
August 22, 2007 - played two games in two days, hurt for pretty much the rest of the year for the Galaxy
November 16, 2007
November 21, 2007 - came on at halftime, nearly got England back into it, but I guess there's a limit to what Beckham can do with "world class" players around him
Cap 100 - yellow carded in a loss, how appropriate
May 28, 2008*
The Jack Warner Cup*
August 20, 2008*
September 10, 2008 - late sub against Croatia
October 11, 2008 - cheap cap against Kazakhstan, greatest country in the world
October 15, 2008 - cheap cap against Belarus
The last seven were under Capello's regime.
The other problem with pinning Beckham's quitting on Capello is, well, there's a lot more that Beckham is saying that is deeply offensive to MLS fans.
The latter fairly strongly contradicts the former. Not only were the Galaxy and MLS paying him a considerable sum not to lose himself as a football player, England was calling him under a similar understanding. If he lost himself as a football player around November 2007 in the second half, then he deserves more callups about as much as Jimmy Five Bellies.
And now that he's rediscovered himself as a football player, it should be the Galaxy that benefits, since without the Galaxy such rediscovery would not have happened. Los Angeles allowed him to go play idiotic friendlies to pad his cap total, and Los Angeles allowed him to "train" with Milan.
Whose responsibility would it be, now that Beckham is once again allegedly international quality, if he deteriorates during another summer in MLS?
Major League Soccer? Strange. Blanco, Schelotto, Angel and Morales seem able to cope.
The Galaxy's? More plausible, but still. You'd think Landon Donovan would have deteriorated even worse than Beckham, yet there he is in Munich. (FREE LANDON!) And it would be particularly odd to hear Beckham complain about Galaxy and AEG dysfunction, when Team Beckham was such a large part of making sure that dysfunction accelerated. Wasn't it Team Beckham that took credit for Ruud Gullit?
If Fabio Capello isn't calling in the best players possible because of the clubs they play for, that's an issue for the FA. And if David Beckham isn't able to play to the best of his ability for the club that pays his bills, that's no one's fault but Beckham. Hell, he's got his own Academy in the same building, how hard would it be to hit the practice fields?
People, the key word, the unforgivable word, that Beckham used was "permanently." Had he simply told the world, "Look, I want to stay in Los Angeles, but I want to play for England more," that would have been far more understandable. If he had added some sugar about how after his official England retirement, he'd be happy to return to MLS to spread the soccer gospel and continue the mission he accepted in 2007 - well, no, Phil and Tim probably wouldn't have been very happy, but there's no way they could have turned down his request.
Instead, there's no way they can accept it - not without making Beckham, or Milan, pay dearly for the privilege. I see from Grahame Jones that, to my shock and delight, Leiweke is taking my advice and demanding blood by the bucketful.
Tim, I could give you a big happy hug. This is one of the biggest "No, screw YOU" responses it has been my pleasure to read in a long time. Of course, David has made no such thing clear about whose decision it is.
And let's be honest - once your club president calls you a brainless, irresponsible flake in front of the whole world, that usually signals the end of the relationship. But Tim and Phil (Tim NEVER gets enough credit for keeping heat off his boss, telecommunications' Howard Hughes) seem willing to make him play on Toronto's turf.
Had Beckham not blithered about the importance of promoting soccer in the United States for the duration of his five year contract, and beyond - then again, this would be a very simple procedure with Beckham as the aggrieved party. Two years in, though, Beckham has found that promise difficult and inconvenient. He deserves all the slack of the hangman's rope.
I'm all in favor of Beckham being capped - in the 1990's "Pulp Fiction" sense, of course. Tim, when Beckham does call back, have this line memorized: