All for the good

THE most likely beneficiaries of David Beckham's transfer to Real Madrid will be the England team, according to former international striker Gary Lineker.

"The biggest winner is likely to be England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson," Lineker, who played in Spain for Barcelona in the 1980s, wrote in a column in the British newspaper, The Sunday Telegraph. "One certainty for me is that Beckham will become a much better player," he said.

"Playing alongside the likes of Zinedine Zidane, Ronaldo, Figo and Roberto Carlos, it would be impossible not to improve. My time at Barcelona definitely helped me develop as an overall player," he said. "My control had to be a lot better and I enjoyed the benefits not just at club level but on the international stage," said Lineker, top-scorer at the 1986 World Cup finals whose overall England tally was 48.

Lineker, now working for television, also said that he had no doubts that Beckham would be a first team regular at Real, the only doubt being in what position.

He added that Figo, considered by many to be a direct rival of Beckham's for a place on the right of midfield, was an equaly adept player on the left but that he would like to see the England captain playing in the centre.