David Beckham has described his experiences leading England at two World Cups as some of the most memorable moments of his career.
Speaking ahead of Friday’s draw in Brazil, the former England captain also said that the fact he was able to represent his country with so many of the people he grew up with at Manchester United made it even better.
Beckham said: “It’s one of the most special things you can do as a footballer. Playing for your country is one of the greatest honours you can have and to go to a World Cup is what you dream when you’re a kid."
Beckham was speaking at the launch of the recently-released Class of 92 documentary – a feature film charting the journey of United’s golden generation of Beckham, Gary and Phil Neville, Nicky Butt and Paul Scholes – as well as Welsh winger Ryan Giggs.
'We’ve grown up together, been successful together and achieved so much – and we were just a group of mates playing football'
“I was lucky enough to be England captain through the time that a lot of these guys came through," added Beckham. "The fact that I could take this group who I grew up with to a World Cup was one of the greatest feelings you can ever have.”
The group went on to amass 364 England caps between them and represent the Three Lions at the 1998, 2002 and 2006 World Cups. For Beckham, the opportunity to share the experience with his childhood friends ranks alongside all the trophies he won at club level.
“That’s the special part – the fact that we’ve all been through it together. Winning the FA Youth Cup, then trophies at Manchester United and then representing our country.
“We’ve grown up together, been successful together and achieved so much – and we were just a group of mates playing football.”
Class of 92 is out now
Paul Scholes, who played for England on 66 occasions, said: “It was great. To go to a World Cup is always going to be a special moment in your career, but to go with your friends and your team-mates from club level made it even better.
“Obviously it helped too when you’re spending five or six weeks away at a time – because it can be difficult when you’re away with people you don’t know, but we were lucky enough to all come through together so it was fantastic.
“But we never saw ourselves as being special and never saw ourselves as different.
“We were just a bunch of mates playing football and we all came through together, and for one reason or another it seemed to work out well.”
Phil Neville, who works on David Moyes’ coaching staff at United, added: “I can’t believe it’s nearly 20 years. It’s flown by and we’re all retired and not playing anymore – apart from Ryan who looks like he’s never going to retire. It’s been a great journey and we’ve enjoyed it along the way.”
The World Cup draw begins at around 4.30pm (GMT) on Friday 6 December and you can follow our updates here on TheFA.com or via Twitter @FA.