LONDON – David Beckham was recalled by England on Thursday and could make his 100th international appearance in next week's friendly at France.
Beckham was overlooked for coach Fabio Capello's debut win over Switzerland last month because the former captain wasn't playing during Major League Soccer's offseason.
But he returned to action for the Los Angeles Galaxy in last week's preseason friendly against FC Dallas and was named in a 30-man provisional squad.
Even though the squad will be trimmed to 23 after the weekend's Premier League matches, Beckham will face tough competition for a place on the right of midfield from David Bentley, Theo Walcott and Shaun Wright-Phillips.
Walcott was recalled almost two years after making his only appearance, while Bentley impressed when he started in the 2-1 win over Switzerland.
Capello named largely the same squad as he did for the that match, but recalled John Terry and Frank Lampard after they returned to fitness, and drafted in Middlesbrough defender David Wheater for the first time.
The 32-year-old Beckham is desperate to become just the fifth player to reach a century of England appearances, but could be on the bench at Stade de France.
Bentley or Wright-Phillips seem the most likely starters, with Beckham just returning to action and Walcott having made crucial interventions as a substitute for Arsenal this season.
The speedy Arsenal forward set up the crucial second goal for Emmanuel Adebayor in a 2-0 Champions League win at defending champion AC Milan two weeks ago, but has not played an international since becoming the youngest player to represent England — playing a warmup for the 2006 World Cup at 17 years and 175 days.
Walcott made it into the World Cup squad but never played at the tournament. He was left out of Capello's first squad so that he could play for the under-21 team.
Aston Villa forward Gabriel Agbonlahor was picked again after withdrawing from the Switzerland match because of an injury, joining Wayne Rooney, Michael Owen, Peter Crouch, Jermain Defoe and Walcott among the attackers.
With Terry healthy, Capello has to decide whether to restore him as captain or let midfielder Steve Gerrard continue in the role after he led the team against the Swiss.
But the coach may not even decide to play Terry alongside Rio Ferdinand on Wednesday, with the in-form Joleon Lescott among those pushing for a place in central defense.
And the 21-year-old Wheater's form has been so good for Boro that manager Gareth Southgate let Jonathan Woodgate join Tottenham in January, although Woodgate was also in the squad alongside fellow central defenders Ferdinand, Matthew Upson, Lescott and Terry.