MILAN Jan 8 David Beckham's whirlwind visit to
Serie A starts at AS Roma on Sunday (1930 GMT) with the on-loan
AC Milan midfielder likely to at least make the bench.
The 33-year-old, who has joined from Los Angeles Galaxy for
two months to boost his England hopes, is pushing for a
starting spot after playing the first half of the 1-1 friendly
draw against Hamburg in Dubai on Tuesday.
Steady rather than spectacular, Beckham was nonetheless
pleased with his fitness levels having not played competitively
since the end of the U.S. regular season in October.
The former Manchester United and Real Madrid player, who
has 107 England caps and is just one behind Bobby Moore's
outfield record, is adamant he will return to Galaxy in March
but is hugely excited about playing in Serie A.
"I'm available to play in my first match of the Italian
championship in a Milan shirt. It will be very emotional for
me, whether I play or not," he told reporters.
Coach Carlo Ancelotti is giving little away about whether
Beckham will start for third-placed Milan, who return from the
midseason break nine point behinds leaders Inter Milan.
"He has dynamism, tactical intelligence and quality,"
"He plays for the team and is always involved in moves. He
is still not in top physical shape but his contribution can be
useful for us even if he is not in the best condition."
Roma captain Francesco Totti, the closest Italy has to
Beckham in terms of lifestyle and media attention, misses out
with a thigh injury which will hamper last season's runners-up
as they bid to climb out of midtable.
Milan are flying straight to Rome from Dubai rather than
going home first given the large amounts of snow which have
fallen in the north of Italy.
Training sessions at many clubs have been hit by the wintry
conditions and some weekend matches could be in jeopardy.
Inter entertain Cagliari on Saturday (1930) without
suspended right back Maicon, who scored both goals in their
fortunate 2-1 win at Siena last time out on Dec. 20.
Second-placed Juventus, six behind Inter after 17 games,
host Siena on Sunday (1400) with Gianluigi Buffon one of
several players back from injury.
The Italy goalkeeper played the first half of a 1-1
friendly draw with Monaco on Tuesday but said he will only make
himself available for competitive games if he feels 100 percent
(Editing by Nick Mulvenney)