Fabio Capello has left the door open for David Beckham to resume his England career in next season's Euro 2012 qualifiers once he has recovered from a ruptured Achilles tendon.
Beckham had surgery in Finland on Monday on the major injury he suffered during AC Milan's victory over Chievo, which rules him out of this summer's World Cup and entails a minimum of six months on the sidelines.
Doubts have been raised over the former Manchester United player's entire career, but Capello is not willing to abandon him so quickly.
"We hope he will be fit for next year," the England manager told Sky Sports News. I hope he will be fit for the Euros because he is one of the best players in England."
As Capello failed to reach an agreement with his fellow coaches about the Group G fixture list for Euro 2012, a random draw will take place in Tel Aviv next week.
Although it is unlikely, the possibility exists that England will not begin their qualifying campaign until March 2011, by which time Beckham should be able to play again.
That was the positive message coming out of the former England skipper's camp on Monday night, even if others are not so sure.
Sir Bobby Charlton, who watched Beckham emerge from United's youth system, hopes it is not the end.
"I don't know if we will see him in an England shirt again. I hope so," said the 1966 World Cup winner.
"I have known him for a long time and he gets a lot of pleasure out of playing the game. Forget about all the finance and the hyperbole that goes with it, he just loves playing football."
"It will take such a long time to get right and you don't have much time when you are 34."
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