AMSTERDAM, August 13 – David Beckham has all but ruled out a return to the English Premier League after insisting AC Milan are very much his first choice when he leaves LA Galaxy at the end of the MLS season.Beckham, who won his 113th cap for England during Wednesday’s 2-2 draw against Holland in Amsterdam, has been told by his national coach Fabio Capello that he must move back to Europe if he wants to be considered for next year’s World Cup finals in South Africa.
Capello’s comments led to speculation that Beckham could return to the Premier League for the first time since leaving Manchester United for Real Madrid in 2003, with Tottenham, Portsmouth and even Chelsea reported to be interested.
But the midfielder, who paid out of his own pocket to subsidise a loan move to Milan last season, was unimpressed when asked if he could play in England again.
"No. I mean I’m never going to stand here and say it will never happen but obviously I enjoyed my time at Milan and they have expressed that they want me to go back," Beckham said after England’s draw. "You know AC Milan is one of the best clubs in the world."
The one thing Beckham is well aware of is that Capello has insisted he must be in Europe by Christmas if he wants to go to South Africa.
"I read that a couple of days ago but it’s old news," Beckham said. "I’ve always known that, everyone has known that and it’s been a fact for a long time now.
"It’s important I’m playing in a European league leading up to the World Cup.
"I’ll concentrate on the rest of the MLS season with the Galaxy and then after that’s finished in a few months I’ll make plans.
"I’m 95 or 99 percent sure they will happen. So, like I said, it’s important I concentrate on the season with the Galaxy and once that’s over there will be a decision made by myself and the club I’m going to."
Beckham’s loyalty to England has gone down less well in the States where he was booed by Galaxy fans on his return to the MLS.
But his recent performances on the field have helped the team to second in the table and a possible play-off place.
"Things are going well," Beckham added. "That’s why I want to concentrate on Galaxy now and finish the season on a high."
Things are also going well with England after they came from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 in the Amsterdam Arena.
Two terrible mistakes from Rio Ferdinand and Gareth Barry, who both gave the ball away in key areas, allowed Holland to score twice in the first half through Dirk Kuyt and Rafael van der Vaart.
But a second-half revival from Capello’s side saw substitute Jermain Defoe score twice and fellow replacements Carlton Cole and James Milner impress, proving England’s strength in depth.
Beckham, who hopes to play against Croatia next month in a match at Wembley that could see England qualify for the World Cup Finals, said: "We’ve got a whole squad of exciting young players, not just 11. We’ve got a whole host of players who can come on and make a difference.
"Jermain in training was on fire, scoring goals for fun, and we know if he got a chance he would score.
"With Carlton coming on they both looked a threat and James Milner on the left creating goals. It’s what you want to see and what England fans want to see – young players coming on and making a difference.
"The competition in the squad is growing and hopefully once we qualify that will continue because you want competition, it’s what makes great teams."