Monday, May 26, 2008

Mail call

It's always interesting to me which articles will generate reader response. So far, there's only been one on my latest espn.com piece, focused on Beckham.

Reader email:

Beckham has been and will always be a support player. He's never
been a standout player at the premier level except for his restart
abilities. It's amazing what the media can do to talk a guy up,
who only came this way because he wasn't good enough to play where
he was anymore.

Another addition to the mailbag just came in:

Shut up please you annoy American press.David Bechkam still has what? The bum only has the fact that first he is white and second English. For this reason only reason you continue heap praises on him meanwhile true football(not soccer) fans know that he is no more worthy to carry the jockstrap of names such as Ronaldinho,C.Ronaldo Kaka, Drogba to name a few. Grew up and really learn the game.

13 comments:

Gabriel in Argentina said...

I am always amazed how many people think that Beckham is not a good player. He was the captain of the English national team in the last world cup. In addition, he could have stayed and played at Real Madrid this year. He easily could have played for a top premier side club as well. What more does he have to do or say to convince people that he can play. He is not maradona or zidane..but how many are??

Anonymous said...

the email said he WAS a good player, just not good enough to still be considered elite while playing abroad.

Anonymous said...

Man while it feels really weird to feel sympathy for a millionaire when I can hardly make rent, I do.

I see all the eurosnobs who put him down for playing MLS. I see all the reverse euro-snobs (and there's plenty of them just head over to bigsoccer) who won't give him much credit and would rather talk up home-grown talent and at a minimum anyone not from Europe.

I see the Donovan fan element who over-hype Landon and think Beckham is over-hyped. It's ironic. Landon is a great player don't get me wrong I like him but most Galaxy fans don't give as much credit as is due to Beckham's part in Landon's season so far. They also don't acknowledge that Beckham makes them dangerous and creates more attacking opportunities more goal opportunities, opens up defenses a higher percentage of the time each game than anyone else on the Galaxy. Sure it's often an exercise in frustration - Beckham provides great service but too often it's not finished even when players like Allen and Gordon are faced with an open goal.

Seriously, the way Beckham's contribution is undervalued by Galaxy fans I wouldn't blame him if he did leave. They can then wonder why Landon isn't as effective any more once hes gone.

What they fail to admit cos it's not cool to like Beckham too much among long-standing Galaxy fans is he is making all their players better and it was Beckham's management team Simon Fuller and his personal manager and best friend Terry Byrne who bought in Ruud Gullit. Yet who is making Beckham look better? Almost all the players on offense outside of Landon week in and week out make Beckham look worse than he is, not better, because they miss the fact hes wide open and they waste perfect pass after perfect pass.

The final irony, if you point any of this out to people they will say, but look at his pay packet. The funny thing is they are anti him because of his pay-check but they are the ones who therefore must believe money is everything but the truth of the matter is it's not. It never is.

Your articles for ESPN AC are about the only ones out in the media that regularly praise Beckham's contribution so I hope you will continue to give him his due someone has too. The guy is giving his all and so far hes having a fantastic season not that you'll find many places we're that will be mentioned or acknowledged.

sorry this is so long. I just am sick of the guy not getting a fair go.

Joseph D'Hippolito said...

The people who criticize Beckham as one-dimentional should have watched the game against Kansas City. The Wizards' Sacha Victorine did a good job cutting off Chris Klein's overlapping runs (which N.Y. coach Juan Carlos Osorio said was the key to stopping Beckham). Yet Beckham adjusted. He dribbled into the penalty area (which he doesn't do) late in the first half and got off a shot that Kevin Hartman had to block with his left hand. In the second half, Beckham dribbled through midfield by himself (which he doesn't do) before passing a short ball to Edson Buddle, who fired a rising 19-yard shot that Hartman had to deflect over the crossbar.

The point is that Beckham forced himself out of his comfort zone to help his team -- and almost got a goal and an assist out of it. That is what a good, team-oriented player does when the occasion calls for it.

Rich21 said...

The Beckham bashing Eurosnobs can't be bothered to watch the MLS. It's "beneath" them (rolls eyes).

Beax Speax said...

English fans are interesting. I hear calls by their fans and the media for older players like Beckham to 'step aside' for the youngsters. They said the same thing about David Seaman a few years back and still haven't had any young keeper take the position. David Freaking James is probably still their #1. I think the younger players need to step and 'take it away' from the older players.

Raphael said...

I guess I'm a Eurosnob i.e. I watched the EPL, Spanish La Liga, Serie A... but NOT MLS.

It's a fact that MLS's quality can't compare to the elite European leagues.

Still, I don't buy the view that Beckham is past it. Case in point: Capello's faith in him.

Anyone who has followed Beckham's last season in Real Madrid would know they both had a falling out. Yet, Beckham continued working hard when he needn't to (he already signed the contract with Galaxy), and impressed Capello so much that he started playing regularly for the team, and was instrumental in pipping Barca to the title in 2006/2007.

And even now, Capello has Beckham in his international plans, despite cutting off other bigger names for youngsters. Skeptic may call it blind faith, but I think Beckham's quality hasn't regressed much. It's his fitness that worried Capello, and the latter cited exactly that for not calling up Beckham in the earlier international games when MLS was off-season.

Beckham is still one of the greatest passer, and shooter of the ball. And yes, he can dribble. It's just that he doesn't need to most of the time, because he can pick up forwards with such great accuracy in advanced positions.

Summary: Beckham is still great. Period

P.S. This is coming from a Liverpool fan.

papa bear said...

the Beckham bashing is comical. Real F'n Madrid said it was a mistake to let Beckham go. I hate Madrid, but there is no denying they are the biggest most successful club in Europe. If they thought it was a bad idea to let a player of his caliber go it probably says someone who knows something about soccer/football knows Beckham is still pretty damn good.

Was he ever Pele or Maradonna or Zidane? Of course not. I don't know many other than 14 year old fan girls who are just 'discovering' their womanhood who think so, but the bashers go so far in the opposite direction it's comical.

Bottom line: Beckham could still feature for a big club in any league on earth. I have no doubt that if he told Wenger he wanted to play for Arsenal Becks would be a gooner right now. He's a fantastic player who plays with guts and passion (which does sometimes run too high for him) who is exciting to watch as he leaves every ounce of himself out on the pitch every night.

If you can't appreciate that you are no fan of this game and need to take up darts or something else.

Raphael said...

English fans are interesting. I hear calls by their fans and the media for older players like Beckham to 'step aside' for the youngsters. They said the same thing about David Seaman a few years back and still haven't had any young keeper take the position. David Freaking James is probably still their #1. I think the younger players need to step and 'take it away' from the older players.

------

With due respect, I think different considerations apply to goalkeepers. They don't need to run so much, so fitness is a non-issue. And their experience counts. And somehow, their agility and reflexes don't get blunted by age.

Case in point: David James. He was known for being butterfingers when he was at Liverpool in the 90s, and often cited as a reason why Liverpool could not win the league. He was known as 'Calamity James'. An apt nickname, indeed.

Almost a decade down the road, at Portsmouth, James is having the form of his life. Displaying quick reflexes as ever. And he's no more prone to making comical errors.

Wisdom comes with age. I guess it applies to keepers, defenders, and to a certain extent, holding midfielders.

Nicole said...

To anonymous No. 2 - I'm not overhyping Beckham or Donovan. Suffice to say, it takes both of them to get the job done. On this team, neither would be as effective solo.

They each open up the game for the other. Without the precise passing of Beckham, Donovan is not as effective. Without the excellent skills and speed of Donovan, Beckham's passes would go for naught most of the time.

The combination of having them both on the field opens up the game for the rest of the team, making it easier for those players to play.

Donovan can lead a team to a championship - 2005 being the prime example. But with MLS improving each year, it gets more and more difficult to fly solo. I'm not convinced Becks could lead a team on his own simply because his game isn't made for that.

They need each other.

maryna said...

Finaly someone admited the fact that Beckham can drible but he doesn't need it. He can drible,can run and bit players,but he doesn't do it often because with his ability to pass and strike you can stand there and just look around for your best options. This is why he still plays for England: his game isn't influenced by his age because it doesn't depend on it. Will C.Ronaldo or Messi run as fast as now in 5-6 years,will they be still healthy to do that? Who knows? Beckham is another story: his abilities depend on amount of training and this man knows how to work hard.

maryna said...

Tomorrow Bobby Charlton will present him golden cap for his 100 caps,what is intresting is that Beckham attended his school as a very young boy and won a competiton there which helped him to sign for MU. This is life...

Raphael said...

Finaly someone admited the fact that Beckham can drible but he doesn't need it. He can drible,can run and bit players,but he doesn't do it often because with his ability to pass and strike you can stand there and just look around for your best options.

------

Indeed. Why bother dribbling when you can easily pass the ball to someone 10-30 metres in front of you? Firstly, it's faster to pass, and give the opposition defence lesser time to get into position. Secondly, you save your own energies.

It's called intelligence, something not readily appreciated by the naked eye. Ronaldo may be a great dribbler, but he's often criticised for overdoing it when a through pass to a teamate would be more effective. And rightfully so.

Case in point: Zidane. He was one of the greatest dribbler in recent times, the kind who depends on skill and footwork rather than pace alone. He used to dribbled a lot in his younger years, and yet he was repeatedly called up for the French team when his tired legs didn't allow him to dance pass players. And he nearly won the World Cup in 2006.

True, Beckham was never a dribbler in his younger years, but it's wrong to say that he can't dribble. Another case in point - Edgar Davids. One of the best no-nonsense holding midfielders, who never was called upon to run past opposition players. Yet, go search out his videos on youtube, and you'll find that his fancy footwork rivals that of Ronaldinho. No kidding.

Summary: There's more to football than it meets the eye.