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12 Jan 2009 11:25
Former England captain David Beckham admitted he was surprised to be handed a start on his debut for AC Milan in their 2-2 Serie A draw at AS Roma.
On-loan Beckham was taken off a minute from time of a pulsating encounter that saw Mirko Vucinic, for the hosts, and Pato, for Beckham’s team, both grab a brace.
It wasn’t the dream start that Beckham would have wished for, but he gave an industrial performance on the right of a three-man midfield and showed several glimpses of his passing range, crossing ability and even his sterling defensive work.
He had one shot on goal but his curled effort from outside the area lacked the pace to trouble Doni in the Roma goal.
But that didn’t detract from the former Manchester United and Real Madrid man’s enjoyment of the occasion.
“I enjoyed it immensely, I was surprised to start the game but given the chance I really enjoyed it,” he said.
Beckham began the match by staying deep and often leaving his teammates to forage forward but as the game wore on and he found his feet, he increasingly started to make typical bursting runs down the right flank, whilst also coming inside to see more of the ball.
He said, however, that the differences between Italian football and that in Spain or England were not so great.
“It’s similar, of course there’s more of a tactical level in Italy, there always has been that and there always will be but I think I adapted pretty well and I enjoyed it.
“Tactically we like to keep the ball in midfield and play the ball forward as much as we can and once you get into the game it opens up more.”
Beckham didn’t get a chance to strike one of his trademark free-kicks despite Milan having two opportunities around the edge of the box.
But with Ronaldinho and Andrea Pirlo in the side, the Englishman admitted he might have to bide his time before getting to set his sights.
“Of course we all take it in turns, if one of the other players feels like he can score from a free-kick then I’ll let them do that but I’m sure I will get my chance.”
As for communication, Beckham, who speaks Spanish but not Italian, revealed he is having few problems talking to his teammates.
“The majority of the players speak very good English and football is an easy language to learn.”
While Beckham was pleased with his start, so too were his teammates.
“I think he did well, in the second half he did better than in the first,” said Clarence Seedorf, who has already struck up a rapport with the Englishman.
“Of course he needs to find his rhythm and get to know us but I think he can be very satisfied with his first game.
“He’s an intelligent player and he’s already adapted. His positioning today was good so I don’t see him having any problems.”
Seedorf, like Beckham, previously played for Madrid and like almost all Dutch people can also speak excellent English.
“We talk English all the time, we’re also together in the bus,” he added.
“We connected well and I said I will help him as much as possible to feel good and to be sure he can add value to the team for the couple of months that he’ll be here.”
The 33-year-old is due to return from this loan period to his current club LA Galaxy in March and he gave little indication that he might stay longer.
“My aim is to play as many games as possible and work on my fitness,” he said.
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