‘David Beckham was led by Gary Neville as captain – Becks was quiet and shy’

David Beckham had the assistance of Manchester United team-mate Gary Neville during his time as England captain – according to a man who knew them both very well.

Beckham was named captain for the first time in 2000, when he and Neville were both key players in the team, having stormed through the ranks at Old Trafford.

Rod Thornley spent 15 years as a sports massage therapist with the England national side, as well as 19 years as United's first team sports masseur.

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Thornley, who was also close friends with Wayne Rooney for two decades, has now given fans the inside info in a chat with Fore Four 2.

Speaking of the former winger, Thornley said: "Becks was more… led by Gary Neville. As much as he was skipper. Becks was quite and shy and timid. He really was. Gary was vocal and that and spoke."

Thornley added that although Neville was very pro United, club divides calmed down in the camp – saying he always experienced a really good set-up.

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With Neville's final England cap coming in 2007, he made 85 appearances in total compared to Beckham's 115, before his international career ended in 2009.

Beckham, now 47, who has also admitted he was shy in his first meeting with wife Victoria, accepted his leadership came from more than shouting at team-mates.

It was caretaker boss Peter Taylor who handed Beckham the armband for the first time, with Sven-Goran Eriksson later agreeing with that decision after taking up the role permanently.

In his final club spell with PSG, Beckham played alongside Marco Verratti, who also spoke of his shy tenancies.

He said: "We used to mix English, Italian and Spanish to communicate. He is polite and has good values, that’s why everybody respects him. He’s a great person and a terrific player.

"He’s a great person, but I had no idea he was such a shy guy. Sometimes when you speak to him he blushes.”


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