Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder David Beckham admits that recovery from games is a tougher bit these days.
And he acknowledges that not being selected for Great Britain’s Olympic team was a body blow, although not one that has extinguished or even diminished any internal fires.
So, will the 37-year-old playmaker keep making the plays for another year? Sounds like it. Here’s what Beckham told the L.A. Times over the weekend:
I said I wanted to continue playing as long as possible. So we’ll see what age I finish at. I love the game so I want to continue playing it. I still obviously want to play at a high level. And if I feel that I can’t play at that level then I’ll try to stop.”
Beckham finished his original five-year deal with the Galaxy last December. Then, after entertaining what he called “many offers” from here and there around the globe, the former England international signed a new two-year deal. Beckham makes about $4 million a year in salary – not that money is truly an issue in all this.
Beckham would turn 38 next year, past the window of effectiveness for most players.
When you look after yourself and you take care of yourself, it’s not a problem. I feel fine. I feel great. I’ve always made sure that I looked after myself throughout my career. And I think it’s what I had done before I was 30 that set me up so I can play still at 37 at a good standard. … I know a lot of players that have stopped and that miss it so much that they want to come back or do come back. So I want to make sure that I’m ready to stop when I do.”
Indeed, there’s really no reason why Beckham can’t play into 2013 – and be effective. He and the Galaxy have created circumstances where Beckham comfortably thrives.
As a deep-lying playmaker, Beckham restricts his movement (and therefore limits the wear and tear).
He has Juninho playing alongside him centrally in the Galaxy’s 4-4-2. Besides being one of the underrated men in MLS, Juninho is just 23, which means he can do takes some of the running and tracking burden away from Beckham. Otherwise, wide midfielders tuck in reliably to provide additional defensive cover.
Robbie Keane and (when healthy) Landon Donovan are smart in their runs, so they know how to make Beckham’s creative efforts from those recessed areas effective. Translation: he makes the offense go without always going forward.
And those deadeye restarts certainly still arrive with same accuracy and zip. Beckham just nailed another free kick goal over the weekend. Hard to imagine he’ll lose any of that by playing extending the Beckham time in MLS another season.