Beckham snubbed as McClaren calls Parker

London, September 30 :

David Beckham’s chances of ever adding to his tally of 94 caps for England appear extremely slim after coach Steve McClaren declined the perfect opportunity to recall the 31-year-old.

With an injury to Aaron Lennon reducing McClaren’s options on the right of midfield, Beckham could reasonably have hoped to be called for the upcoming Euro 2008 qualifiers against Macedonia and Croatia.

Former skipper Beckham was axed by McClaren after the World Cup but the player has refused to give up hope of resuming his international career.

But McClaren kept the door firmly shut, opting to name a squad without any specialised back-up for Liverpool star Steven Gerrard, who has taken over Beckham’s slot on the right.

There was better news however for Scott Parker whose tenacious displays for Newcastle this season have seen him restored to the national squad for the first time in over two years.

Parker has been drafted into the squad as a straight swap for Owen Hargreaves, who broke a leg earlier this month. “Scott is captain at Newcastle and he’s having a very good run in the team,” said McClaren.

Wayne Rooney returns after serving a two-match ban for being sent off in England’s World Cup quarter-final defeat by Portugal. Darren Bent makes way to accommodate him.

Gary Neville is also back in the fold, at the expense of Luke Young, while Michael Dawson drops out to allow his Tottenham teammate Ledley King to return after his recovery from knee surgery.

England are currently at top of their Euro 2008 qualifying group after wins over Andorra and Macedonia. Peter Crouch’s goal sealed a win in Macedonia and McClaren will expect a more comfortable match when they meet again at Old Trafford on October 7.

England then travel to Croatia for what is expected to be their toughest assignment in Group E. The two teams last met during Euro 2004 with Rooney scoring twice in England’s 4-2 victory.