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For Beckham, a fine international career appears to be over

International TradeLA Galaxy2012 Summer OlympicsMLS CupSpice Girls (music group)Manchester United F.C.

David Beckham, 37, has played in more matches than almost any other English soccer player, but he won’t get a chance to add to his 115 caps this summer in London.

The LA Galaxy midfielder announced Wednesday that he has been left off Great Britain’s roster for the 2012 Olympics.

“Everyone knows how much playing for my country has always meant to me, so I would have been honored to have been part of this unique Team GB squad,” Beckham said in a statement to Britain’s Press Association. “Naturally I am very disappointed, but there will be no bigger supporter of the team than me.”

Considered the de facto under-23 world championship, the Olympics allow for three 'over-age' players on each roster. Beckham had been considered for one of the spots, but manager Stuart Pearce selected Manchester United’s Ryan Giggs, Liverpool’s Craig Bellamy and Manchester City’s Micah Richards instead, a source told the Associated Press.

This could mark the end of a fine international career for Beckham, who hasn’t appeared in a match for his country since 2009.

In 2011, Beckham had a pair of goals and 15 assists in the midfield for the MLS Cup-winning Galaxy, contributing more than 30 percent of the team’s total helpers.

Beckham is obviously disappointed to be left off this roster, especially since he was a major advocate for bringing the Olympics to his hometown of London.

He can still contribute at the international level and help this English squad, but perhaps Pearce needed extra help on the back end, so he selected the 24-year-old Richards. The 38-year-old Giggs, who is from Wales and able to compete for Great Britian solely in the Olympics and not in other international competition, hasn’t gotten to grace the world spotlight too often. It’s a nice honor for a player whose team has never really been a factor in a major international competition. Wales’ last World Cup appearance came in 1958.

Beckham has moved from the game’s elite to an international celebrity during his time in the United States. There’s no reason he can’t help an English team that is considered the tournament’s third favorite behind Spain and Brazil, but with only 18 roster spots, it’s hard to select two players nearing their 40s, and Giggs got the nod.

Beckham can continue to contribute in Los Angeles, but his best days are certainly behind him. Maybe he’s better suited as a figurehead for England’s athletic endeavors, as he was for London’s bid for the Olympics.

Or maybe it will give him more time to watch his wife, Victoria Beckham, prepare for the Spice Girls musical announced yesterday and set to debut in December.
 
spetrella@baltsun.com
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