Donovan: Beckham fits right in, just like always
CARSON, Calif. – With David Beckham not around, LA Galaxy players went about their usual business of trying to build a strong, cohesive unit capable of competing in the upcoming MLS season.
On Thursday, one month into preseason, Beckham returned after much of the initial early work had been done. Still, he was able to ease into the team’s training session and picked up where he left off with some of his teammates.
“Like always, he fits right in,” Galaxy captain Landon Donovan said. “He looked great, he looked fit, he looked sharp. He and I always get back on the same page quickly. He and everyone else seem to get going quickly.”
Beckham spent the first part of the year training with EPL club Tottenham Hotspur. While Galaxy players were in the beginning stages of their preseason, Tottenham tried (ultimately in vain) to arrange a short-term loan for Beckham.
And while the Galaxy were in Arizona for a 10-day preseason stint, Beckham was making his way back stateside.
[inline_node:329424]“All we care about is that when he’s here, he wants to be here and he wants to play,” Donovan said. “[Thursday] he showed that he wants to be here and he wants to help this team.”
Donovan said he understood Beckham’s desire to play somewhere else in the offseason, as Donovan himself had abbreviated preseasons with the Galaxy in 2009 (on loan to Bayern Munich) and 2010 (on loan to Everton).
“Who am I to say he shouldn’t be somewhere playing?” Donovan said. “The last two years I’ve been in Europe playing, so I understand why he would want to do that and why he would want to play there.”
Though it's important for players to bond and get used to working with one another, it's equally important for one of the team’s best players to come into training camp fit. Beckham used the opportunity at Spurs to work himself into top shape
“It’s important for him also to give himself a chance of playing at that level, training with the players he was training with at Tottenham," said former EPL star Juan Pablo Angel, who played at Aston Villa from 2001 to '07. “I think it’s only going to do him good and hopefully we’re going to get the benefits from it. He’s going to be as important as ever for our team and for the league.”
Still, Donovan said the most ideal condition would have been for Beckham to have been with the team from the start.
“Would we have liked to have had him since Jan. 24? Sure, but that’s the way it is," he said. "Everyone has individual things going on, and we’re just happy to have him back.”
<p><em><strong>Check out the Feb. 24 edition of the <a href="http://www.mlssoccer.com/extratime" target="_blank">ExtraTime Radio podcast</a>, featuring D.C. United's Charlie Davies, </strong></em><strong><em>Real Salt Lake's Nick Rimando and league executive Nelson Rodriguez</em></strong> <em><strong>talking about the new playoff structure.</strong></em></p>
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