David Beckham has been criticised by L.A. Galaxy team-mate Landon Donovan just as the former England captain prepares to return to action with the MLS team.
In a forthcoming book, Donovan claims Beckham has demonstrated little commitment to the Galaxy cause and has been a bad influence on the team since the deaprture of former coach Ruud Gullit.
“All that we care about at a minimum is that he committed himself to us,” Donovan says in ‘The Beckham Experiment’, written by Grant Wahl.
“As time has gone on, that has not proven to be the case in many ways – on the field, off the field.
“Does the fact that he earns that much more money come into it? Yeah. If someone’s paying you more than anybody in the league, more than double anybody in the league, the least we expect is that you show up to every game, whether you are suspended or not. Show up and train hard, show up and play hard.”
Donovan also questioned the former England skipper’s leadership abilities, claiming he is too often silent in team meetings.
“Maybe he’s not a leader, maybe he’s not a captain,” he said. “Fair enough. But at a minimum, you should bust your ass every day. That hasn’t happened. And I don’t think that’s too much for us to expect. Especially when he’s brought all this on us.”
Beckham’s first season in MLS was a largely forgettable affair. He struggled with injury and his Galaxy team missed out on the play-offs, with Gullit quitting before the end of the campaign.
Donovan believes that Beckham’s enthusiasm for LA Galaxy and MLS dwindled after the departure of Gullit.
“When David first came, I believed he was committed to what he was doing,” Donovan said. “He cared. He wanted to do well. He wanted the team and the league to do well.
“Somewhere along the way – and in my mind it coincides with Ruud being let go – he just flipped a switch and said, ‘Uh-huh, I’m not doing it anymore’.”
Donovan even claimed Beckham is a bad team-mate, because of his lack of commitment.
“He’s not shown (he’s a good team-mate),” he said. “I can’t think of another guy where I’d say he wasn’t a good team-mate, he didn’t give everything through all this, he didn’t still care. But with (Beckham), I’d say no, he wasn’t committed.”
Beckham pushed for a loan move to Milan in January, and then extended it to miss half of the 2009 MLS season. That, according to Donovan, indicated his lack of commitment to MLS.
“My sense is that David’s clearly frustrated, that he’s unhappy and, honestly, that he thinks it’s a joke,” he said. “I also kind of feel (he has taken the team) for granted. I don’t see dedication or commitment to this team, and that’s troubling.”
Beckham is due to make his return for the Galaxy against the New York Red Bulls on July 16, two days after Wahl’s book is due to be published.