Real Madrid boss Fabio Capello believes David Beckham omission from the England squad has affected him psychologically.
Beckham, who stepped down as England captain after the World Cup, was subsequently dropped by Steve McClaren for his first game in charge and has not been called up since.
The 31-year-old has spent most of the season on the bench and there have been suggestions that he will leave the club next summer.
However, Capello remains keen for Beckham to stay and he sees the player’s dip in form being due to him being left out of the England set-up.
“I think that Beckham is an outstanding professional,” Capello said.
“He always gives his best both in training and when he is playing. I firmly believe this. But you also have to keep in mind that a coach needs to have the overall picture in his head in order to achieve certain results.
“In Beckham’s case, he has had bad times after being left out of England’s national team.
“Those are moments which produce psychological difficulties. Now he’s regaining all his composure. The other day in the Champions League he played very well and now he seems to have become the Beckham we once knew.
“But I think the hardest test for him was to stop being captain of the England team.”
Capello insists he is determined to keep Beckham at El Santiago Bernabeu.
“I’ve always said he should be with us,” added Capello. “He is a unique professional.
“I love professionals, and not only professionals but also good players – two very important things.”