CARSON, Calif. – When David Beckham re-joined the Los Angeles Galaxy in mid-August, Bruce Arena had more than just a return to action in mind for the former England captain.
After his second game back, the Galaxy coach said the target was to have Beckham “completely match-fit by playoff time.”
With two games remaining before the start of the MLS Cup Playoffs, Beckham said he hopes to play as much as possible in order to reach that target before late October rolls around.
“It’s important for me to get as many minutes as possible on the field,” Beckham said Thursday. “As long as I’m feeling fit, as long as I’m feeling physically well, then I’ll want to play as many minutes as possible. Hopefully that’s possible the next two games.”
Entering Saturday’s game against Colorado, Beckham said his fitness is continually improving, though he’s not fully there quite yet.
“It’s still difficult for me to get going in some areas, but once I get playing, I feel good,” he said. “It’s still going to take awhile to get match fitness, but I’m definitely close.”
Beckham has gone the distance once in the five games he’s played this season – a 2-0 loss to New York – but Arena deemed that a mistake, saying after the match that Beckham “should not have played that long.”
[inline_node:319973]In the two games since then, Beckham's minutes have steadily increased, as has his production – he had a goal in 64 minutes played against Chivas USA, and an assist in 76 minutes against Philadelphia, both LA wins.
WATCH: Beckham's FK goal vs. Chivas
“It’s something that I hoped for but, obviously, when you come back from a bad injury like I had, you expect it to take time and you have your doubts about certain things in your game,” Beckham said. “After an injury like this and to have had an assist and a goal and be in the position that the team’s in, I’m happy with that.”
As far as trying to follow a structured plan with regards to playing time, Beckham said one does not exist.
“There’s no plan,” he said. “Obviously it’s as many minutes as I can on the field, to stay on there as long as possible is obviously the target.”
Full match fitness is still the goal for Beckham, but to get there does not necessarily require a 90-minute effort.
“If it’s 75 minutes, 80 minutes, it’s not going to kill us,” Arena said. “We’ve increased his minutes to try and make sure he’s healthy. He dealt with a little bit of bronchitis the last couple of weeks, but I think he’s moving forward. He had a good week of training and hopefully he’s going to be in for 90 minutes [against Colorado on Saturday].”
Beckham tore his Achilles tendon on March 14 but less than five months after was back in training with the Galaxy. He returned to action less than six months removed from the injury and has reported no setbacks after each and every game he’s played.
If he ever thought about re-injuring himself, those thoughts aren’t present any more.
“Playing in the games is more of a mental thing than anything,” he said. “I don’t go into the game thinking ‘Am I going to do it again?’ or ‘If I push off, is it going to snap?’ It’s something that I don’t even think about anymore.”