Even the most ardent of David Beckham fans would have to admit after viewing his recent performances for AC Milan, that finally his ability to influence the game at the highest level - in the way he has for so many years - is beginning to fade.
So much so in fact that aficionados of Serie A football or avid Milan fans would be hard pressed to disagree with coach Leonardo's decision to keep the global superstar on the bench. After reviewing Beckham's performances this time around for Milan, it is clear he is off the pace - not just literally but in many areas. Stray passes, poor first touch and a lack of composure in tight areas, usefully the hallmarks of the talented Englishman, are sadly missing from his game. In fact, one wonders if Fabio Capello would have the audacity to not select the FA's main ambassador and absurdly, its main hope, for acquiring the rights to host the 2018 World Cup.
It would be a gutsy call by the enigmatic Italian but one that would surely be awkward for many stakeholders not least of all, Beckham himself. The likely reality though, is that barring significant injury Capello will include David Beckham on his final roster. The downside of not including him at this stage is just too great. Whether he plays a minute in South Africa however, is a different matter. Unless he finds an extra gear of ability from somewhere and soon, he will very likely, just like at Milan, be cemented to the bench.