23 April 2012

England's ten most gifted footballers of the last 50 years: Number 10, David Beckham

One of the first to spring to mind, if more for his public profile and continued topicality than his ability. Beckham's consistency as a player at both club and international level has remained pretty high, and while his low-ish placing in this Top 10 may surprise some, it is purely down to spending most of his career a little one-dimensionally on a flank, where he rarely can go looking for the ball, but instead needs somebody of comparable ability to pick him out. The crosses were almost always immaculate, the free kicks regularly lethal, but he was often more influential through attitude rather than direct involvement on the pitch and, ultimately, wide men need to benefit from good service as well as provide it themselves. On the occasions when he did work from a central position, he had less of an impact because he found it tougher to see outlets with the ball and distribute it accordingly.

Number 9 tomorrow...

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