Beckham eyes double World Cup dream

LONDON: David Beckham has set his sights on helping England win the 2010 World Cup as well as lending his support to the country’s bid to host the 2018 edition of the tournament.

Beckham revealed he will take up a role as an official ambassador for the bid in an attempt to convince the FIFA executive committee to award England a first World Cup since 1966. The former Manchester United midfielder was speaking just days after FIFA vice-president Jack Warner insisted the English bid team must take advantage of Beckham’s popularity in the same way London did to help win the 2012 Olympics.

Beckham, 34, plans to attend the draw for next year’s World Cup in Cape Town in December and will spend much of the trip trying to win over FIFA’s 24-man voting panel ahead of their final decision on the 2018 host, to be made in December 2010.

“Everyone has their opinions and say things that we need to do,” Beckham said of Warner’s criticism. “We need to take that on board. It’s not something that you just dismiss. You have to take advice and criticism from people because you learn from that. You have to learn from people who have high ranking and know a lot about it. That’s been where the criticism has come from so we take that on board and we have to learn from things.”

“And we will do because we are not expecting this — we want to get it. We’re not taking anything for granted. We have the people there and we are serious about this bid. It’s not something we’re taking lightly. Just because we are England, love the game and we’re one of the biggest nations for the game, it doesn’t mean we are taking this bid lightly.”

Beckham’s involvement will be limited for several months by his playing commitments for LA Galaxy but he will help when he can. “If I can fly to different countries and help us have a chance of getting this then I’ll do that,” he said. “I was honoured to be involved in the Olympic bid and we were successful there and I was asked to be an ambassador of this one. So of course I accepted it and I’m serious about it. But obviously I’m still playing as well so it’s difficult for me to go to different places but given the MLS season ends in November, I’ll be in South Africa in December.”

The ideal scenario would be to win the World Cup next year, then help England earn the right to host the tournament in 2018. “It’s everyone’s dream to do that but there is a lot of hard work for both,” he said.