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Buoyant Beckham on Galaxy: Better, Deeper, More Confident

Somewhere in all the drama, tension and backlash surrounding "the book," "the handshake" and "the other handshake," David Beckham's mid-season arrival, while "still a circus" (according to the man himself), has been less of an off-field distraction and more of an on-field boon to the previously stagnant Galaxy, boosting them not just in spirit but also in the Western Conference standings.

But Beckham is the first one to admit that their improved results this time around have more to do with Coach Bruce Arena stocking the team with more talent and experience than his own return to L.A. "Without a doubt we're better. We've got a squad of players that when players do leave for international duty, they can come in and keep us stable. That's a big improvement," says Beckham. "These players are not frightened to play themselves. They don't have to give the ball to Landon (Donovan) or myself all the time, and that's good to see. It shows the confidence in each other and it shows the confidence in the team we've got."

Not surprisingly, the praise isn't just a one-way street, with little-known Chris Birchall showing the man some compassion in saying, "he'll probably admit to anyone these last few weeks have been probably one of the toughest times in his career. I don't think in the few weeks he's been here he's come under the kind of criticism that he has." But, Burchall defended, "he's learned wherever he's been in his career to ignore it and get on with what he's here to do, and that's play football. And he's doing a great job of it."



Read the whole story at MLSnet.com »

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