McClaren drops Beckham

London, August 11:

David Beckham was dropped from the England soccer team on Friday by coach Steve McClaren, who also named Terry Venables as his assistant.

Beckham stepped down as captain after limping off with ankle and Achilles tendon injuries during the second half of England’s World Cup quarter-final loss to Portugal. McClaren didn’t name him in the squad to play Greece in Wednesday’s friendly — his first match in charge.

“I spoke to David last Monday and notified him of my decision and said that I was planning for the future, looking to change things, looking to the future and David wasn’t included,” McClaren said.

“At the present moment I am looking to take this team in a different direction,” McClaren added. “It’s a new beginning. It’s a clean sheet of paper for everybody and that’s why I decided not to pick David Beckham.”

It also marks a break from the reign of former coach Sven-Goran Eriksson, who developed a close relationship with Beckham in his five years in charge. McClaren was Eriksson’s assistant from 2001. Beckham has 94 caps — he was captain for 58 of those — and has long said he’d like to reach 100.

Squad: Goalkeepers — Paul Robinson, Chris Kirkland, Ben Foster; Defenders — Gary Neville, Luke Young, Rio Ferdinand, Phil Neville, John Terry, Jamie Carragher, Michael Dawson, Wayne Bridge, Ashley Cole, Wes Brown; Midfielders — Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard, Owen Hargreaves, Aaron Lennon, Jermaine Jenas, Stewart Downing, Shaun Wright-Phillips, Kieran Richardson; Strikers — Peter Crouch, Jermain Defoe, Dean Ashton, Darren Bent.