The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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‘Eriksson biggest winner’

London: The most likely beneficiaries of David Beckham’s transfer to Real Madrid would be the England team, according to former international striker Gary Lineker.

“The biggest winner is likely to be England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson,” Lineker, who played in Spain for Barcelona in the 1980s, wrote in a column in the The Sunday Telegraph.

“One certainty for me is that Beckham will become a much better player,” he said. “Playing alongside the likes of Zinedine Zidane, Ronaldo, Figo and Roberto Carlos, it would be impossible not to improve.

“My time at Barcelona definitely helped me develop as an overall player,” he said. “My control had to be a lot better and I enjoyed the benefits not just at club level but on the international stage,” said Lineker, top scorer at the 1986 World Cup finals whose overall England tally was 48.

Lineker, now working for a television channel, also said that he had no doubts that Beckham would be a first team regular at Real, the only doubt being in what position. He said Figo, considered by many to be a direct rival of Beckham’s for a place on the right of midfield, was an equally adept player on the left but that he would like to see the England captain playing in the centre.

Lineker said the secret to Beckham’s success in Spain lay, however, off the field in his adaptation to a new country and that learning the language was essential, adding that “it will also help him in the dressing room”.

Meanwhile, the News of the World quoted Beckham’s father, Ted, saying his son had told him he was forced to quit Manchester United because manager Alex Ferguson no longer wanted to play him.

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