David Beckham has undergone a successful operation on a fully ruptured left Achilles tendon and is expected to make a full recovery.
Beckham’s chances of appearing in a record fourth World Cup were shattered last night when he ruptured his Achilles tendon on AC Milan duty against Chievo.
But the 34-year-old’s hopes of resuming his career were boosted by a successful operation in Finland today.
“Following a scan, David Beckham’s left Achilles was found to be ruptured,” his spokesman said in a statement released to Press Association Sport.
“Professor Sakari Orava performed a successful operation today, repairing the tendon completely.
“David is expected to make a full recovery. Professor Sakari Orava will conduct a further examination tomorrow, when a programme for rehabilitation will be finalised.
“David wants to thank everyone who has given him messages of support – it meant a lot to him.”
Beckham’s rehabilitation will be boosted by news Fabio Capello hopes the midfielder can add to his 115 caps in the Euro 2012 qualifying campaign.
“We hope he will be fit for the next year,” the England manager told Sky Sports News.
“I hope he will be fit for the Euros, next qualifying.
“He’s always one of the best players in England.”
Professor Sakari Orava, Beckham’s surgeon, anticipates it will be a minimum of six months before the former England captain can play again.
“It was a total tear,” Professor Orava told Sky Sports News.
“It’s only a guess, but it’s four months to running and a couple more months to kicking and jumping.
“He was quite happy after the operation.
“(And) I think that he understood from the beginning that it’s a serious injury and he’s not able to play (at the World Cup).”
Asked whether Beckham can play at the top level again, Professor Orava added: “It’s difficult to say whether he has decided to come back at the same level as before, but usually people can do what they have done before, if everything goes well.”
Capello’s comments will come as a boost not only to Beckham, but to Sir Bobby Charlton too.
Speaking at a major Manchester United sponsorship tie-up with Turkish Airlines, Charlton, who watched Beckham emerge from United’s youth system, hopes it is not the end.
“I don’t know if we will see him in an England shirt again. I hope so,” said the 1966 World Cup winner.
“I have known him for a long time and he gets a lot of pleasure out of playing the game.
“Forget about all the finance and the hyperbole that goes with it, he just loves playing football.”
Charlton was fortunate to avoid serious injury throughout his own illustrious career.
That does not mean he is oblivious to the anguish Beckham must now be feeling at what appeared an innocuous incident that had such major consequences.
“If it had happened to me I would have been distraught,” reflected Charlton.
“I was lucky with injuries. He has got one of the worst kind.
“It will take such a long time to get right and you don’t have much time when you are 34.”
For Capello, it formed the first part of what turned out to be a frustrating 24 hours.
In Zurich for a meeting to thrash out the fixtures for Euro 2012 that ultimately reached no resolution, Capello was informed of Beckham’s injury almost as soon as it happened.
And both he, and trusted assistant Franco Baldini, were immediately on the phone to offer their support.
“I am very sad for David that he has suffered this injury,” said Capello.
“We have to wait for the results of the scan, but it looks like he is out of the World Cup.
“I spoke with him after the game on Sunday night to offer my support, as did Franco Baldini.
“David is a great professional and has worked very hard to be ready for the World Cup, so missing it will be a big blow.”
As the enormity of Beckham’s injury sank in, Capello then headed off for a near five-hour meeting with fellow Group G counterparts Switzerland, Bulgaria, Wales and Montenegro that ended with an impasse that will now be resolved by UEFA, who will hold a random draw in Tel Aviv.
The increased irritation for Capello was that he had reached agreement over England’s fixtures, avoiding June matches and starting with a home game in September.
Now those dreaded June fixtures are back on the agenda, when trips to the searing heat of Montenegro and Bulgaria could also be added to what is very much a worst-case scenario.
Before that, Capello will have to find alternatives for the right-sided slot.
In a sense, the Italian has options, even though Aaron Lennon’s fitness situation is causing concern given the Tottenham winger has not recovered from a groin injury he sustained in December.
Theo Walcott and Shaun Wright-Phillips are obvious alternatives. James Milner and Joe Cole are both capable of operating in that area of the pitch, whilst Adam Johnson is bound to come into the reckoning after capping a sparkling few weeks at new club Manchester City by scoring a superb equaliser at Sunderland yesterday.
However, Denis Irwin, a team-mate of Beckham’s in the 1999 Champions League final, thinks Capello will struggle to replace the veteran wide-man.
“It is a big blow for England,” said Irwin.
“I have never seen a better crosser of the ball and England will miss him on set pieces.
“He would be the ideal man to come on with 25 minutes to go when you have someone like Peter Crouch up front. He would have been the perfect foil.”