Steve McLaren and Terry Venables should be unsentimental: Bring Aaron Lennon in. He deserves a full 90 minutes.
Lets all get behind this: David Beckham has to go. He is a waste of space at this point. He is neither a player nor a captain. There are so many more talented players (Enter, Aaron Lennon!), who are out there who did more in their 15 minutes then Beckham did in the 90+ minutes in the matches he played this World Cup. Just one beautiful free kick would be good enough if it won the game all the time but when those are not the answer then you have to do more than that and the occasional pretty pass. The reason that Beckham could not be in the game more than he was is that he just does not have any other skills.
Beckham's supply of passes was easy to cut off with his lack of speed since defenders would go straight to the source, and easily dispossess him. He was not a good tackler of the ball, so there was little chances of him winning it back. With Lennon's speed, you could see defenders backpedaling giving him wider looks, to go straight at goal, or to create a pass. He proved to be extremely disruptive. I thought England had its best chance when he was in the game.
The other part is that England has to quietly start winning games. With Becks everything is a distraction. The World Cup for one where every other pundit is either talking about his prowess as a freekick expert (fair enough) but then it gets irritating when he repeats. "bend it like Beckham" for the thousandth time. But besides that is the besottment with, he is also the richest and most well known football player in the world, the most famous metrosexual, has a trophy wife, has a thousand products he endorses, has a clothing and perfume line, blah blah blah. But in all of that static, the obvious question is, where does the man go for the rest of the 89 minutes? He must be the most well paid player for the amount of minutes that he actually contributes on the field. Again all this would be whistleass stuff if England won. After all football is a game, where all it needs is a free kick and we can sing "We're the Champions of the World" till we are blue in the face.
But England does not win and has not been winning for a longtime. This was supposed to be the year. The part that really bothers me is how did Beckham ever get to be captain for so many years. His shortcomings as a player would be made more palatable if Beckham could but provide the crucial captaincy when needed, i.e., Wayne 'Wildman' Rooney blew his top in the Portugal game. It was clear enough for a anyone to see that Rooney was turning dangerously purple with rage and was going to do something brainless but where was Beckham to lead him off and say, "This is important. England needs you?" It was left to Gerrard and Terry who to pick up the dregs of the game because Becks was preoccupied with his lack of hydration and the heaves.
In which Beckham breaks down
He finally left when he got injured and was left weeping on the stands. That was what his World Cup amounted to really. The most famous player in the world left bitterly alone in the stands, nursing his thigh, and weeping because he could not play the game. I am sorry but seeing him like that did not inspire any awe. That moment I would not have traded any part of my life for his lifetime of fame. It was a very sad moment and I really felt terrible for Beckham.
I think David Beckham's contribution to the game can be debated. He is not a Dennis Bergkamp whose contribution to the game is beyond debate and the only thing that you wonder is what if it had not been for that crippling fear of flying..... Alan Shearer is not the best TV pundit but no one can take anything away from him as a player and captain for England. The man had no knees by the time he retired. It is time for David Beckham to retire from international soccer and pay a visit across the pond to see if he wants to buy a football franchise or play his last days out in the relative comfort of a MLS club. There will be thousands who would love to see him in the USA. He will be sought after by everyone from the football pundits to Hollywood. Those are the distractions we can handle.
So bring Aaron Lennon in and make Steven Gerrard captain, Steve McLaren. Then you are truly on your way to proving that you are no Sven. And England can get back to winning again.