Monday, November 21, 2011

He remains an Englishman

I haven't had a chance to ask David Beckham of late about his future plans now that he's finally an MLS champion, but my guess is that he's leaving the Los Angeles Galaxy. 

I do think winning that title last night meant a lot to him. He's a competitive player. He wanted to win very badly. 

Yet there's something beyond club glory that has always mattered more to Becks. 

His country. 

For he himself has said it
And it's greatly to his credit,
That he is an Englishman!

Simply put, the Galaxy have always taken a backseat to Beckham's desire to serve his country. I'm not simply talking about playing for England, either, although it's pretty remarkable how far he's flown, or where he's taken loans to help make that happen. 

Whether it has been lobbying for the Olympics, the FIFA 2014 World Cup, attending the royal wedding or whatever, Becks has been pretty much at the beck and call of his homeland. It didn't matter that many in England derided his move to the Los Angeles as the ultimate sellout. Becks remained loyal to helping his country in whatever capacity possible. 

Of course, when Beckham played in Spain for Real Madrid, the club versus country conundrums were less obvious partly because Spain was an easy flight to England for any needed games.  MLS games also conflicted more often with international dates. Even for friendlies, Beckham would choose England.

For, in spite of all temptations
To belong to other nations
He remains an Englishman

Often, though, this loyalty to country was to the detriment of Beckham's MLS club. The two loan deals to AC Milan so Fabio Capello would know for certain Beckham could actually still hit a good cross cut out half of the Galaxy regular season. Plus, Beckham got injured during the crucial second loan right before the 2010 World Cup, so that time away from MLS to try to secure his spot in the England squad was all ultimately for naught. 

Other players might have sulked at home, but Becks went to the World Cup anyway, supporting England from the sidelines. Who knows if that helped, but either way, he was there. 

Ultimately, Beckham's internal compass always points to England. The prospect of playing in the Olympics could be what drives Beckham to Paris St. Germain. Of course, that's a team that would represent Great Britain, the UK as a whole, but that's close enough for Becks, especially with the Olympic games being hosted in London, his home city. 

Simply put, it's probably easier to make the Olympics from Paris, where the future UK coach could easily see that yes, Becks can still hit a cross. It's also probably better for the Galaxy not to lose Beckham for all that time in the summer, when the MLS season will be in full swing. Why should they put too much money competing against PSG for a player who wants to be away again to serve his country?

Of course Becks cares about the Galaxy. I saw that back in 2009, when he puffed desperately on his asthma inhaler to make it through the 2009 final. I saw it in his tears after the final 2011 whistle, when the championship was his at last. Yet if going to Paris helps his chances to make the Great Britain team, I'm betting he'll take that over returning to the Galaxy. 

He remains an Englishman.