Coddenham keeper to face Beckham
JAMIE Waite will be the first Englishman to face £25million ace David Beckham in a Real Madrid shirt.The 17-year-old from Coddenham will line up for the Thailand senior team against the Spanish giants in Bangkok next month.
By Mel Henderson
JAMIE Waite will be the first Englishman to face £25million ace David Beckham in a Real Madrid shirt.
The 17-year-old from Coddenham will line up for the Thailand senior team against the Spanish giants in Bangkok next month.
It will be one of the ex-Manchester United star's first games for his new club as they embark on a series of sell-out games in the Far East.
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Waite, who plays for Rotherham United, said: "It will be a massive game. The stadium will be packed and all eyes will be on Beckham.
"But it isn't just Beckham I have to worry about – there's Ronaldo, Raul, Figo, Zidane, Roberto Carlos and the rest.
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"It will be the biggest game of my career so far. Beckham mania is rife in the Far East, every ticket will be snapped up and the game will be live on the box."
Ipswich-born Waite's senior debut for Thailand was two years ago, when he became the second youngest international of all time.
Earlier this month he turned his back on England after being invited to join their Under-19 squad for a training get-together. Following talks with Thai officials in London he decided to devote himself entirely to them – and he has a hectic few weeks in store.
Waite flew to Bangkok two days ago and will play in a warm-up game against Singapore this evening.
Then on July 24 he will line up against Liverpool, who are playing several games in the Far East as part of their preparations for next month's big kick-off.
Waite will fly back to England on August 1 to join up with the Thai Under-21 squad, who have fixtures arranged against Fulham, Everton, Rotherham and Burnley.
Then he will jump back on a plane on August 10 and jet back to Thailand to prepare for the clash with Real four days later.
The Spanish champions will start their pre-season training with a camp in the cool climes of Kunming, China, from July 24 to August 1.
Then they will take on a Chinese select in Beijing on August 2, before games in Tokyo, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok.
Waite's busy international timetable means his club career has been put on hold – but Rotherham boss Ronnie Moore was quick to wish him well.
The youngster said: "I had a chat with the gaffer and he was pleased for me, but he told me to work hard and keep my feet on the ground.
"The experience will be good for me and he knows I want to challenge for a first team place next season."
The teenager's proud parents, dad John and Thai-born mum Jitpirom, will be flown to Bangkok at the expense of the Thailand FA to share their son's big moment.
And Waite promised: "At the final whistle I'll be off the mark quickly to join the race for Beckham's shirt. It would be the ideal souvenir."