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LA Galaxy Stands Firm as David Beckham Limited to Training Stint With Tottenham

Jan 10, 2011 – 9:32 AM
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Brian Straus

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Kudos to the Los Angeles Galaxy. It seems the club has developed a bit of backbone and insisted that David Beckham put his MLS commitment first, for once.

Beckham (who's set to become a father for the fourth time) has been angling for an offseason loan to Tottenham Hotspur and announced his intentions last month. The Galaxy has been saying all along that it expected the player to be in uniform for the March 15 season opener, but we've seen the club put Beckham's interests before its own several times before.

Not this time, however. Beckham will honor the fifth and final year of his contract and play only for the Galaxy in 2010. He will train with Spurs until Feb. 10, then return to California without playing in any Premier League games. He joined the London club on Monday and took a physical.

It's worth repeating this sobering statistic: Beckham has appeared in 57 games for the Galaxy. He's played in 33 matches for AC Milan and 21 with England. The Galaxy has constituted just 51% of his work load over the past four years.

Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp said, "We'd love to have him here for longer but respect his commitments to L.A. Galaxy. They wanted him back in early February so that made it difficult to do a playing deal on the basis of three weeks."
In a statement on Tottenham's Web site, Beckham said, "It's important that I maintain a high level of fitness during the MLS off season. I'm thankful to Tottenham and Harry Redknapp for giving me the opportunity to train with the team over the next month. I'm grateful to the L.A. Galaxy for allowing to me to train with Spurs. I look forward to getting to work as soon as possible."

Beckham's interest in staying fit is laudable. He missed the vast majority of last season with his Achilles injury and did not see the field until early September. He played 10 games, starting eight. It's understandable that he wouldn't want to start from scratch all over again when the Galaxy begins its preseason program.

The Galaxy's insistence on Beckham's presence, however, is also laudable. The club capitulated far too easily to AC Milan, and as a result Beckham has played just one full season for the club (2008). It has zero incentive to allow Beckham to play games for another club and risk another injury.

If MLS is going to be treated like a major league, it needs to act like one. That means behaving like equals rather than start-struck fans when dealing with big-name foreign clubs, and it means holding famous players to their word.
Filed under: Sports