Peter Taylor explains why he handed David Beckham the England armband in 2000
by Glenn Lavery
David Beckham’s determination to succeed was the main factor behind his appointment as England captain.
The 38-year-old first led his country in a friendly against Italy in 2000.
Former Three Lions caretaker boss Peter Taylor was the first person to hand Beckham the armband and he spoke in glowing terms about the midfielder following the announcement that he is to retire at the end of the season.
Taylor, who will take charge of the U20s at this summer’s World Cup, said: “David was one of three players I felt could have been captain in that first squad I had together.
“I went with David because of his determination to succeed and it worked out to be a great decision in the end. He took the role on and continually improved as a player and as a captain.
“And you could see that he became more and more confident with the armband every game.
“David being David, he was always going to take the role seriously and do things correctly and that’s exactly what he did.
“He took on more responsibility, he spoke to the manager more, players went to him more and I’ve got no doubt in my mind that he took on more responsibility on the pitch as well, talking to players, instructing them and knowing when to spur them on.”
Taylor also recalls the moment he informed Beckham of his decision: “I was at Leicester at the time so I phoned him in the morning and told him that I wanted him to be my captain.
“I obviously couldn’t see his reaction but I could tell he was delighted. He was a very happy man. It was something that he’d wanted to do and he had earned that opportunity. I’m pleased it worked out so well for him.”
Beckham appeared 115 times for England, captaining his country on 59 occasions.
His club career saw him play for Manchester United, Real Madrid, LA Galaxy, AC Milan and Paris Saint-Germain and he became the first Englishman to win league titles in four different countries.
His fame eventually transcended the pitch and Taylor praised the way Beckham coped with his ever increasing popularity.
He added: “As we all know, he turned into a world famous figure, he just took it all in his stride and that speaks volumes of the man that he is.
“He did everything he could to be as good a player as he could be.
“As coaches, we are always telling players to give themselves every chance to succeed and David didn’t leave any stone unturned. He did everything right and he has had an amazing career.
“I’m delighted he has had the career he has and I wish him all the best for the future.”
Taylor will name his 35-man provisional squad for the U20 World Cup on Friday.
England’s group campaign, which will see them face Iraq, Chile and Egypt, begins on 23 June.