DON’T write off David Beckham.
That’s the view of Town legend Andy Booth as the England ace recuperates after the operation on his left Achilles tendon which has scuppered his hopes of playing in a fourth World Cup.
Booth – at 36, two years older than Beckham – was once on the same teamsheet as the former Manchester United and Real Madrid star, when England Under 21s took on Austria at Middlesbrough in 1996.
Booth, left on the bench while Beckham went on as a substitute, said: “It’s a sad moment for any England fan to see what have happened on Sunday (Beckham went down while playing for AC Milan against Chievo).
“It’s a nasty injury which takes a lot of recovering from, and as far as the World Cup, and quite possibly England, is concerned, that’s it.
“But having watched his career develop, you just can’t write him off, and I’d love to see him have maybe one more season at club level.
“He doesn’t need to play football for financial reasons, and hasn’t for some time, and the fact that he has pushed himself to stay at the level he has for so long shows how much he loves playing the game.”
Booth, Town’s former frontline star and now enjoying his full-time role as club ambassador, added: “Whatever happens, you can’t take away what Beckham has achieved.
“He’s been a fantastic player, and has raised the profile of football in such a positive way.”
Booth’s view was echoed by former England, Newcastle, Manchester United and Blackburn forward Andy Cole.
The ex-Town strikers’ coach said: “He’ll come back from the injury, I don’t think he’ll want to retire on this note.
“He’ll work his socks off to try to get himself fit.
“It’s devastating news for David. His heart was set on going to a fourth World Cup. He will be heartbroken.
“It’s not a nice injury, there’s a lot of pain and it’s a long way back.”
Beckham will be welcome back for a third spell at AC Milan next year, according to their vice-president Adriano Galliani.
The player is currently in his second loan stint from Los Angeles Galaxy.
Galliani said: “David will probably be out for five to six months. I saw him suffering.
“I gave him a hug in the changing rooms and I told him that if he wants, next year he will be with us.”
Galliani added: “Beckham has great willpower.”
The Milan chief also sang the praises of surgeon Sakari Orava, saying: “He is a genius in his field.”
Meanwhile Blackburn goalkeeper Paul Robinson’s World Cup hopes could be hanging in the balance after he suffered a calf injury.
Robinson came off in the first half of the 3-1 defeat by Tottenham at White Hart Lane and is due to have a scan.