Cameron praises Beckham

Martin O'Neill has left Aston Villa
Martin O'Neill has left Aston Villa

By staff

The prime minister has praised David Beckham, after the former England captain was told he will no longer play for his country in competitive matches.

The comments come a day after David Cameron expressed his disappointment at the departure of Martin O'Neill from Aston Villa, the club he has supported since he was 13.

England coach Fabio Capello has received considerable criticism for the way in which he made Beckham's fate clear in a TV interview, rather than by calling him personally.

But it is clear the Italian wants to introduce a new generation of younger players to the side after a bitterly disappointing World Cup performance.

Mr Cameron said Beckham was "an incredible role-model" but he refused to be drawn into a comment on the decision itself.

"One thing I've learnt in my first three months in the job is that I should let the England football manager get on with managing the team," the prime minister added.

Things were more personal for Mr Cameron in the case of Aston Villa, who he first saw play when he was a child with his uncle and then-club chairman Sir William Dugdale, he told Manchester radio station Key.

"I'm very sad about the Villa manager departing because Martin O'Neill did a fantastic job, so I wonder what they're going to do next," he said.

Asked if he had the skills to take on the position, he replied: "No. I'm not remotely qualified."

O'Neill left the club earlier this week after citing differences between himself and Randy Lerner, the club's chairman.


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