CARSON, Calif. – David Beckham is ready and expecting to play in Saturday’s clash against Real Salt Lake.
Just one week removed from making his first appearance in a month—an 87 minute stint in last Sunday’s 1-1 draw against the Colorado Rapids—Beckham was removed from the club’s injury report. The 37-year-old midfielder had been listed earlier in the week as questionable with a left ankle sprain, but he admitted on Friday that he is nearing full fitness.
“The ankle didn’t feel perfect [after the Colorado match] but it felt a lot better than what it had done,” said Beckham. “I’ve done a lot of strengthening work this week and while it’s not 100 percent, it’s close. It’s 98.”
Beckham is not the only player approaching full fitness as the Galaxy are likely to have the services of Swedish winger Christian Wilhelmsson on Saturday. The Swede is currently listed as questionable on the club’s injury report with a left calf strain, but on Friday head coach Bruce Arena said that Wilhelmsson is “doing fine” and “is healthy” after completing his second full training session this week.
Should Wilhelmsson start, this will cause a shuffling of the Galaxy midfield that consisted of Beckham, Juninho, Marcelo Sarvas and Mike Magee during last weekend’s draw against the Colorado Rapids.
“Oviously he’s played many places in this game and he’s got good experience. He knows how to run and how to move and he’s a very good player,” said Beckham, who has yet to play with the Swede. “To have him back is important, but we’ve got a majority of our players back fit so that’s a good thing for Bruce to have.”
If Wilhelmsson does return, one would expect that same fluid movement and interchange among the midfield that became common place in the center during his previous league appearances. The fluidity in the center caused considerable problems for the Vancouver Whitecaps and Toronto FC as LA was able to pressure defenses and create scoring chances.
And Beckham believes that this pressure will provide LA with another weapon on both sides of the field against a talented Real Salt Lake midfield.
“We’ve got two players that are able to get near players in Juninho and Marcelo [Sarvas] with the way that they work back and work forward, and they’re very good at pressing,” said Beckham. “That’s an advantage when you’ve got players like that so we’ll be able to protect [the defense].”
Adam Serrano is the LA Galaxy Insider. Read his blog at LAGalaxy.com/Insider or contact him at LAGalaxyInsider@Gmail.com