It was always going to happen. A serious injury before the World Cup finals is just what the English tabloids need to whip the public into a fearful frenzy over the Three Lions’ World Cup chances.
In 2002 and 2006 it was metatarsals that were added to everyone’s vocabulary, with front page diagrams, expert opinion and witch doctors blessings all roped in to help our understanding. This year it could be the achilles tendon that is on everyone’s lips, with Beckham once again the unlucky victim.
I’m no doctor but ask most football fans what they know about achilles injuries and they will put it alongside torn cruciate knee ligaments and broken legs in the serious injury department. No doubt the Sun will explain all.
Make no mistake it is bad and Beckham looks set to be out for at least six months, maybe more at his age, meaning he will miss out on the chance to play at his fourth World Cup.
Will it receive disproportionate press coverage? Of course it will, I’m contributing to that right now. Because Beckham has a media circus around him wherever he goes whatever happens to him is big news. However, the injury is unlikely to have serious impact on the World Cup betting odds.
On a personal note it is of course very sad news, no likes to see players miss out the World Cup through injury. But because of all this media fluff that surrounds Beckham I think many people have lost sight of the fact that he isn’t particularly good anymore.
At 34 he probably can’t play a whole game, not if he is expected to contribute in game a few days later (which is what happens in major tournaments, there is little time for respite). He never really had pace anyway but what legs he has got are now completely shot.
The best England could have hoped for was to wheel him onto the right wing in the second half and ask him to cross the ball all day. But with no pace it is too easy for full-backs to double up and block his crosses. Ok, he takes excellent free-kicks yes but how many does he actually score compared ones he blasts into the wall?
His injury could actually be a blessing as it removes the problem of having to take a very famous substitute. It also gives possible replacements three months to prove their worth – a player with hunger and desire could is just a big an asset as experience.
Trying telling that to the press though.
Meanwhile, the clash between Denman and Kauto Star continues to dominate the Cheltenham Festival betting ahead of this year’s meeting which starts tomorrow.