David Beckham’s dreams of playing for England in the World Cup in South Africa have been ruined after the midfielder suffered a freak injury. Beckham tore his Achilles tendon playing for AC Milan and will play no further football this season.
The injury occurred in Milan’s Serie A match against Chievo. Beckham did not come into contact with any other player when he sustained the injury and immediately left the pitch. Milan manager Leonardo confirmed that the injury was serious.
"Beckham's injury makes us feel terrible,” he said after the game. "He is an extraordinary guy and today's game proves it yet again.
"I cannot enjoy this evening considering this serious injury.”
The former Manchester United star has made no comment on his situation but it is understood that both England manager Fabio Capello and his assistant Franco Baldini have spoken to the player to offer their sympathy and have already been told he will not feature in their plans for South Africa.
Beckham is at Milan on a second loan spell from his parent club Los Angeles Galaxy. The midfielder was expected to return for the new MLS season but if he faces a lengthy lay-off there may be concerns over the remainder of his playing career.
The popular player’s misfortune elicited sympathy from his Milan team-mates and Dutch midfielder Clarence Seedorf said the club would be motivated to repay his efforts with success.
"It's always ugly to be out because of an injury," Seedorf admitted.
"But it will mean that we will all need to give everything we have even for those who will not be with us.
"They deserve that for what they have done so far this season."
"Beckham is not well," added AC Milan midfielder Ignazio Abate. "To see him suffer like that has really touched us."
Beckham was expected to be named as part of Fabio Capello’s 23-man squad for the World Cup and will now leave the Italian considering other players for the right-sided midfield spot. Theo Walcott and Shaun Wright-Phillips will undoubtedly come into the reckoning but Manchester City youngster Adam Johnson could be a surprise inclusion if his good form continues until the end of the season.
Johnson scored a stunning late equaliser in City’s 1-1 draw with Sunderland on Sunday and is likely to be given a chance to impress Capello in the remaining training camps before the World Cup squad is announced.