They say old habits die hard and David Beckham’s flawless long passing is a habit he has had all of his professional career. It was nothing short of exquisite against his old club last night and I liked seeing him in the deeper role in midfield again. Yes it was the very definition of an exhibition match, with the All Stars players picked from across the MLS. He looks like a master swordsman fencing with an eppee.
As an England supporter I remember well Sven Goran Eriksson’s experiment of picking Sir David in the “quarter back” role against Wales and Northern Ireland. Both Beckham and the Swede were crucified for it by the British tabloid press (they always hated Beckham for some reason!). But I remember he had an excellent game against Northern Ireland, picking 70 yard passes out and putting Shaun Wright Phillips clean through on goal about 5 times. Wright Phillips, sadly, couldn’t strike a match. Great to see that even now Sir Dave can cause all kinds of problems with his wand of a right foot!
I like the idea of this All Stars Match and it works better than the East/West idea – at least in soccer terms. Too often the problem with makeshift sides like this MLS side is organisation – defending is hardest to do when you don’t play together regularly. The space that Anderson was afforded on the edge of the box was nothing short of criminal. That said, the interchange between Berbatov and Rooney was sublime and haphazard at the same time and Park’s twisting and turning in the box would have left many Premiership defences flummoxed.
The MLS keeper Hall was slower than old boots. The shot for Park’s goal was hit with venom, but it still felt like he could have stretched a stronger hand to it. Wellbeck’s goal did get a deflection, but when he went to readjust it looked like he was stuck in fudge he moves so slowly. It was a relief for those supporting the MLS select when Kasey Keller came on… which is worrying, I remember him playing for Millwall and Leicester when I was bopping to Oasis and Blur!