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TFC players unfazed by Becks saga
February 20, 2009, 8:26 AM
Filed under: David Beckham, Toronto FC

David Beckham made just one appearance — as a MLS all-star — in Toronto, so excuse the players if his much-publicized move to Italy is not on their minds.

“Beckham brings people to the seats because of his name, reputation and what he has done. It’s the media that blows up his every move and draws all the attention,” Marvell Wynne said at BMO Field on Thursday. “In the end, for the players, I don’t think it will be much of a distraction. But hey, it is always good to hear gossip.”

Wynne is aware of the allure an offseason move to Europe can bring. The speedy 22-year-old has been linked to loan deals with Aston Villa of the English Premier League since arriving in Toronto two years ago.

“I would love to go over there and see what the atmosphere is like, everyone would love to play in England or somewhere in Europe,” Wynne said when asked of the speculation around his offseason move to Europe. “I would check it out if there was ever any solid interest.”

The Galaxy agreed to allow Beckham to join AC Milan for three months during the Major League Soccer offseason so he could compete for a place in the England team. The former Manchester United and Real Madrid player made an immediate impact in Italy, which led to a regular starting spot and a record-tying 108th cap for England in a recent 2-0 loss to Spain.

“The thing is that he is a proud guy and he wants to play for England. I don’t think it has got anything to do with the league, I just think it is the fact he wants the (career cap) record,” John Carver said of the Beckham saga. “He wants to play at the highest standing for as long as he can and you can’t (condemn) him for it. Because when it is finished, it is finished.”

Carver was on the sidelines in Newcastle when Beckham made his meteoric rise to soccer stardom with Manchester United in the 1990s. The second-year TFC coach admits MLS was not on the radar of many followers of the game in England until Beckham arrived, and hopes all of his promotional work will not be all for naught should he stay in Italy.

“In England, on the ticker tape at the bottom there is an MLS section, which is great because he lifted the profile of the league and I would hate to think that if he didn’t come back then that would disappear. I would hate to see all the good work that the league has done go up in smoke because of this situation.”

In two seasons Beckham did more for the image of MLS than any player in its 14-year history; but the fact he failed to win a single trophy may be his legacy.

“This was the one league where he really didn’t shine; he really didn’t do a whole lot,” TFC striker Chad Barrett said of Beckham’s on-field performance. “He gave some great glimpses when he arrived but he got injured and you can’t fault him for that. The next season he came out and had an average year — five goals, five assists — which was no different from Cuauhtémoc Blanco or Guillermo Barros Schelotto; they all provided something for the league but at the same time Beckham never made the playoffs here.”

If the lack of trophies is not his legacy, Barrett hinted that the payday he will turn down to play at a higher level else just might be.

“It’s his choice. He is getting paid $250 million over five years which is more than enough money for me to stay here. But he went over and played well and he misses that competitive atmosphere, because let’s face it, we just don’t have the same pressure here.”

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