Could Beckham really play right back?

January 4, 2010

RTR28E2S[1]BECKSDavid Beckham has returned for his second loan spell at AC Milan where he has an outside chance of playing right back.

Massimo Oddo is injured while left back Marek Jankulovski has been hit by fitness and form problems so Gianluca Zambrotta has been operating on the left of the defence rather than the right.

Ignazio Abate is a midfielder who has been filling in at the back but has not convinced the Rossoneri faithful.

Could all this prompt Leonardo to put Becks in defence?

The 34-year-old, likely to be on the bench against Genoa on Wednesday, has said he is happy to play anywhere and midfielders like Gennaro Gattuso will be seething if Beckham comes back into the side for just five months and steals their place.

Right back suddenly looks an ideal spot, even if Leonardo almost laughed off the idea late last year.

Beckham has never had great pace but is decent at defending while playing right back would allow him to swing in his famous crosses, which would not be so easy to produce in a narrow three-man midfield.

Of course the main reason Beckham is back at Milan from Los Angeles Galaxy is to try to safeguard his England World Cup squad place.

But what about a starting spot for Fabio Capello’s men in South Africa come June? That seemed unlikely with pacy duo Aaron Lennon and Theo Walcott among those who looked ahead of Beckham in the pecking order for a start on the right wing.

England’s right back position is a different kettle of fish, however. Liverpool’s Glen Johnson is injured and pundits question his defensive ability.

Injury-prone Wes Brown would probably be next in line but he has been playing centre back for Manchester United instead this season and has been exposed of late, especially in the shock home FA Cup defeat to third tier Leeds United on Sunday.

Luke Young has retired from international football, Gary Neville hardly plays anymore. Who else is there?

If Beckham does play right back for Milan and is decent, Capello may have an answer.

PHOTO: AC Milan’s David Beckham arrives at the Milanello training center in Carnago, northern Italy, Dec 28, 2009. REUTERS/Giampiero Sposito


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I think Beckham would make a decent enough right back for Milan. In Italy the slow pace of the game would suit him and, as you say, allow for those trademark crosses.

However, at international level he would be exposed in such a position and far better to bring on for 15 minute cameos when the direct play makes sense.

Such a shame Jamie Carragher can’t be persuaded to play at right back.. or anywhere for England.

All that aside… I along with the rest of the country I would take anyone over Gary Neville. Taxi.

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I agree, The pace of the game is very slow in Serie A and he probably could adapt his game. He will still be a danger at set peices and crosses.

For England though it would be a no go.

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I think England’s needs are greater in goal. I think that’s where Capello should try Becks, maybe give him his 1st game in goal against Germany in the World Cup? That would really be great – for the Germans!

Posted by Brylcreamboy | Report as abusive

maybe Victoria could play between the sticks. that would be confusing for the opposition with 3 goal sticks.

Posted by Brylcreamboy | Report as abusive

I have mixed reactions as to this proposal. Becks would be a better fit as a central midfielder or as a winger. Strikers will have a field day with him as a fullback since he has a slower pace than today’s fast forwards.

Posted by luisito | Report as abusive

Modern fullbacks barely defend anyway – especially against teams playing one striker – so why not?
It’s just an extension of the wingback idea, with the benefit of someone in the position who can actually cross.
Beckham may not be the world’s best tackler but he can do a good harrying and spoiling job on the odd time he will be called into defensive action.
It would also make the opposition think twice about their formation as a cobination of Beckham and maybe Lampard or James Milner down the right would need plenty of defending.
England need to do something different to challenge the really big teams and this would be one decent idea I reckon.

Posted by pinhead | Report as abusive

He clearly has the work rate to play at right back, and his passing is probably still the best of any english player. Playing him at right back enables his dominant crossing game, and would probably make the decision to start Crouch alongside Rooney final, and this would also be a positive influence on whoever plays in front of him, be it Lennon or Walcott, 2 wonderful talents but who could always benefit from a captain playing behind them. The potential shortfall of pace is not a problem, pace is no match for intelligence on the world stage, and Beckham has that in abundance.

Posted by Claude56 | Report as abusive

claude56 likin your comment. imagine beckhams crosses with lennons speed on the right. dangerous. can beckham get up and down as much mmm dunno. also is his defensive position and tackling good enought. i think so but if he gets a ronaldo runnin at him. then again how good is johnson really.

Posted by moshahid | Report as abusive