Beckham waiting almost over

THE will-he-won't-he wait is almost over. Fans wondering whether captain David Beckham will play in next week's historic England v Croatia friendly international at Portman Road will soon know the answer.

By Mel Henderson

THE will-he-won't-he wait is almost over. Fans wondering whether captain David Beckham will play in next week's historic England v Croatia friendly international at Portman Road will soon know the answer.

Sven Goran Eriksson will unveil his first squad of the 2003-2004 season on The Football Association's website – www.thefa.com – tonight.

Eriksson will wait until after today's opening round of Premiership fixtures before going public and the list of players will be available from about 7.30pm.

That will give Eriksson time to check on those players he plans to select and discover whether they are fit enough to report for duty tomorrow night at their Essex base, the Five Lakes Hotel Golf and Country Club complex near Maldon.

No such worries over Beckham, of course, since he is not due to make his Real Madrid league debut until the end of this month.

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The £25million former Manchester United star will be the centre of attention when Real Betis visit the Bernabeu Stadium on August 31.

And it was to aid his settling-in period that Eriksson considered omitting Beckham's name from the squad to face the Croats on Wednesday.

FULL STORY IN TONIGHT'S EVENING STAR