I have been thinking about this for a while now, and my opinion on the matter hasn't altered one bit.
David Beckham has been bloody harshly treated by Steve McClaren.There. I've said it.
I'm not talking now about his celebrity status, or his daft wife, or his off-field activity. I am talking solely about his contribution to the England cause.
Yes, his form for England over recent months has been patchy at best. Yes, he is no longer a fixture for his club side and all of a sudden has some genuine competition for the right sided midfield role at international level. Yes, McClaren had different ideas about the way he wanted England to play, using Steven Gerrard in that position.
But of all his many faults, the things that I admired David Beckham the most for were his honour and his loyalty to the England cause. He has 94 England caps and during that time developed a reputation as someone that would give blood and sweat to the England cause. To consign someone like that to the dustbin of international football history (which McClaren has surely done) seems to me insensitive and unnecessary.
Yes, his form has dipped. But a fit David Beckham is surely an asset to a 23 man England squad. You really telling me that Kieron Richardson, Michael Carrick or Phil Neville are better options from the bench than Beckham? Youth will get you so far, but look at France as a great example of a nation that realised it needed the presence of its seasoned, experienced professionals (some of whose form was worse than Beckham's). They went all the way to the World Cup Final.
I also don't think McClaren's "I prefer Gerrard. and Lennon. and Wright-Phillips. and Pennant. and I have asked Tony Daley to come out of international retirement" attitude towards the situation was particularly well-advised either.
I'm not sure I thought I would ever say it, but I feel really, really sorry for Beckham. McClaren could have got away with not starting him, but I think it was extremely unwise to cast him adrift in this manner.