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England Misses Beckham After Weak Displays Against Macedonia

Somewhat predictably, there were calls for the return of David Beckham following England's listless 0-0 draw with Macedonia on Saturday. The Three Lions could've used someone like Beckham to probe Macedonia's stiff defense with a few expertly taken free kicks in a game that will be remembered for ponderous midfield play and poor finishing  especially from Gary Neville, who missed an absolute sitter just before the hour mark. Instead, Beckham, who is perfectly fit by the way, was forced to stay in Madrid as England's injury-hit midfield toiled at home against a team that could arguably be considered lesser opposition than any of the teams England faced at the World Cup. Nevertheless, Coach Steve McClaren won't be calling up Beckham for the crucial qualifier against Croatia in Zagreb on Wednesday: McClaren and his PR team have all but made Beckham and former coach Sven Goran Eriksson the poster-boys for an era of underachievement in England. Word on the street is that McClaren thinks changing course might undermine his credibility with the England faithful. To win back the fans, the boss decided that England needed a new marketing slogan pitched by a new set of players. But after two decidedly limp performances against Macedonia, McClaren will have to look elsewhere to pick his England side up. However, those options, with Owen Hargreaves, Aaron Lennon and Jermaine Jenas all injured, now look to be few and far between.

Read the whole story at Associated Press »

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