Capello: Beckham caps awarded on merit

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England boss Fabio Capello insists David Beckham will not be given a record-equalling cap out of "sympathy."

Beckham, who will be on loan at AC Milan next month, is one appearance away from matching Bobby Moore's 108, the most by an outfield player.

"I will watch him. If he plays for Milan, it's possible," Capello said. "If he doesn't play then he will not be in the squad. It's the same for all the players. I will decide after talking to the coaches, not on sympathy."

Meanwhile, Capello has sent a message to Premier League clubs that he wants as much time as possible to prepare for the 2010 World Cup finals.

The Italian is thought to prefer an earlier start to the next domestic season so he can spend time with the squad before the tournament in South Africa.

He considers the extended period he spent with his players last summer as a key factor in England's four wins from as many qualifiers - and believes the time before the finals themselves will be vital.

"I think it is very important because I can work with the players and practice a lot," he said.

"After training I can check everything and then I can speak with the players. When we stayed together for 10 days it was very, very important for us. After we have qualified we can speak about this more though."

Capello was reflecting on his first year as England boss, and looking to the future, he hinted at James Milner being the next Aston Villa youngster he wants to look at.

"He was very, very interesting when we saw him play for the Under-21s at Southampton (against Republic of Ireland)," Capello added. "He scored two goals in that game."

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James Milner
David Beckham
Aston Villa
Bobby Moore

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