David Beckham has backed Rio Ferdinand's claim that England are a more "serious" football team since the arrival of Fabio Capello.
Speaking before Wednesday night's impressive 3-1 win in Belarus, Ferdinand admitted the 'WAG' culture surrounding the squad had made it feel like a "circus" at times, and Beckham - whose wife Victoria, formerly 'Posh Spice', was arguably the highest-profile WAG of all - admitted the renewed focus since Capello's appointment has boosted England's hopes of success.
"There is going to be criticism when you don't perform, but you take the rough with the smooth. Like Rio said, there's a lot more seriousness around the England team - and it's paying off," he told Sky News.
"There's always going to be criticism of footballers - they're very high profile and paid a lot of money," he added. "But the players I've played with in an England shirt and at the clubs I've been at, all they care about is winning and being successful.
"That's the way it should be - to be successful you have to perform well. It's not about anything else but the football and at past competitions it's been about other things that have surrounded the England team.
"Now it's more about us being successful in a big competition. It's nice to be part of an England team that's like this, that's so confident and doing so well. I hope we can get fans back excited about the England team, because we deserve it as a nation."
Beckham is confident England have the players to compete with the best international teams.
"In this England team at the moment, we've got players who are some of the best in Europe - some of the best in the world," he said.
"Steven Gerrard, for me, is one of the best if not the best midfielder in the world - and we've got that all the way through the team."
Copyright (c) PA Sport 2008, All Rights Reserved.
Do YOU want to write for GiveMeSport? Get started today by signing-up and submitting an article HERE: http://gms.to/writeforgms