Jun 11, 2014

    Beckham bets on England's young guns and Rooney


    DAVID Beckham has called on England manager Roy Hodgson to unleash his squad's emerging youngsters at the World Cup.

    But his old teammate Wayne Rooney will still be a key player, he said.

    Hodgson has selected several prodigies, including Raheem Sterling, Ross Barkley and Luke Shaw, for the tournament in Brazil and former England captain Beckham believes the coach should not be afraid to throw them into the fray in Brazil, despite their lack of experience.

    Liverpool winger Sterling, 19, Everton midfielder Barkley, 20, and Southampton left-back Shaw, 18, have just 12 caps between them.

    Beckham is convinced England would benefit if Hodgson puts his faith in a new generation of exciting talent.

    "These players play in the biggest leagues in the world. They play against some of the best players, so it doesn't matter how young they are," he said.

    "You can see the good thing about having young players go into a competition is the fact that they're not scared."

    England have been drawn in a tough group featuring Italy, their opening opponents on Saturday, Copa America champions Uruguay and Costa Rica.

    But if England are to defy the critics in Brazil, they will need a strong showing from Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney. And Beckham is confident his old England teammate will rise to the occasion this time.

    "Wayne proves himself every time that he steps out onto a football field," he added.

    "At the end of the day, Man United might not have had a great season but he has had a great season. And every time he puts an England shirt on, you know it means something to him."