CARSON, Calif. — David Beckham and Gary Neville came up the ranks of professional football together in the early 1990s, and when Neville bids farewell, Beckham might be there to see him off.
Neville, who spent his entire 19-year career with Manchester United, retired earlier this year, but England’s most-capped right back will have a testimonial match in his honor on Tuesday. The game, which will pit a Manchester United team against Juventus, will feature other players who came up with Neville and Beckham, including Nicky Butt, Phil Neville, Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes, all part of the Class of '92.
Beckham said Thursday he might be in attendance, but that the decision has not been made.
“At the moment it's not been decided, but I think the organization and Bruce know how important it is for Gary,” Beckham said. “They will decide after the game on Saturday [against Chivas USA], and then we'll wait and see.”
The team’s match against Chivas USA (10 pm ET/7pm PT, ESPN2, ESPN Deportes, espn3.com) is the first of three inside eight days. The team will host the Houston Dynamo on May 25 and then travel to face the New England Revolution on May 28.
And while it is possible Beckham could still play — he played in England one day and for the Galaxy the next back in 2007 — it's likely he will miss a game next week. Regardless of the testimonial match, it’s possible the English midfielder would have taken one of the games off no matter what.
“I would think that we would be resting David in one of the games next week,” Galaxy coach Bruce Arena said. “That's what we've done in the early going, and there’s no reason to believe that we won’t continue to do that.”
For his part, Beckham said being at Old Trafford next week would be significant.
“It’s such a tremendous occasion for Gary, celebrating it in the way he's going to be doing it," he said. "That era, the '92 era, was such an important phase of our lives, so it's a big occasion. It’s important for me to be there for Gary more than anything. That's the big thing, but the final decision is obviously up to the boss and the organization so we'll see. I'm concentrating on this game on Saturday and then we'll see what happens.”
Beckham did not travel with the team for a match against Philadelphia on May 11, when the Galaxy faced a similar stretch of games. He returned to the mix last Saturday and scored a goal in LA’s 4-1 romp over visiting Sporting Kansas City.
This time around, though, Beckham’s absence would see him off to another country instead of simply resting at home.
But after all these years, Arena said he’s not concerned with Beckham’s travel woes.
“He probably won’t be back in economy in the middle seat if he traveled,” Arena said. “I’m sure his travel would be a little easier than most people are accustomed to. I think he probably has done that more than the President of the United States. I think he understands how to travel if that's the case.”