David Beckham Dropped From England's Soccer Team

David Beckham was dropped from the England soccer team Friday by coach Steve McClaren, who also named Terry Venables as his assistant.

Beckham stepped down as captain last month after limping off with ankle and Achilles tendon injuries during the second half of England's World Cup quarterfinal loss to Portugal. He said he still wanted to play for the national team.

McClaren didn't name him in the squad to play Greece in Wednesday's friendly — his first match in charge.

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While his accuracy from dead balls is still sharp, Beckham has started to lose pace — highlighted when 19-year-old Aaron Lennon twice replaced him at the World Cup. It also marks a break from the reign of former coach Sven-Goran Eriksson, who developed a close relationship with Beckham in his five years in charge.

McClaren was Eriksson's assistant from 2001.

The 31-year-old Beckham has 94 caps — he was captain for 58 of those — and has long said he'd like to reach 100. It's possible he could be recalled for England's 2008 European Championship qualifiers.

McClaren added Venables, who coached England from 1994 until 1996, and Steve Round to his backroom staff. McClaren worked with Round at Middlesbrough.

As backup to striker Peter Crouch, McClaren named Jermain Defoe — who was on standby for the World Cup but was sent home — Charlton's Darren Bent and West Ham's Dean Ashton, who was given his first England call up.

Wayne Rooney was left out because he is suspended from England's first two Euro 2008 qualifiers for the red card he was shown against Portugal, while Michael Owen is recovering from a serious knee injury he got at the World Cup.

McClaren wasn't able to pick a number of other players because of injury, including midfielders Michael Carrick and Joe Cole, backup goalkeeper Robert Green and defender Ledley King.

A total nine players from the World Cup squad were omitted, including 17-year-old Theo Walcott. Eriksson's decision to take the striker to Germany before he'd played for his English Premier League club Arsenal was widely criticized.

With Owen injured and Rooney not at full fitness, Walcott stayed on the bench throughout the World Cup.

Walcott, Nigel Reo-Coker and Scott Carson were named in the under-21 squad to play to Moldova on Tuesday.

Goalkeeper David James and defender Sol Campbell were other high-profile World Cup squad members to miss out.