England midfielder David Beckham faces a year of solid football in his bid to reach the World Cup, according to the man who helped bring him to Los Angeles Galaxy.
Beckham is expected to be loaned to AC Milan in January to keep his fitness levels up and remain in Fabio Capello's squad for South Africa, with the Major League Soccer season starting again in March. Tim Leiweke, the chief executive of AEG which owns Galaxy, expects Beckham to be playing club football shortly after his international duty in the summer.
"We're not going to give him as much time off this time," Leiweke said. "He's going to have to earn his keep. He will have a little time off."
Leiweke is fully behind Beckham's dream of reaching his fourth World Cup.
"We have a deep appreciation of what he is doing over here with his national team," he said at the Leaders In Football summit at Stamford Bridge.
"I wanted him to know that we will support him so we are going to lend him out."
Galaxy want Beckham's loan deal sorted out soon so he can concentrate on a title challenge with his club.
"We want to get it done, for him and for us, because we have work to do over the next few weeks and I don't want any confusion," he said.
Although Leiweke is happy to loan Beckham to a European club prior to the World Cup, he is confident the former Manchester United and Real Madrid star will see out the five-year contract he signed with the Galaxy when he arrived in Los Angeles in 2007.
Leiweke said: "We have a contract and despite people thinking we're going to sell him, we're not. David is going to finish his career with the Galaxy."
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