David Beckham's Road To The Middle

NEWCASTLE AUSTRALIA - NOVEMBER 27: David Beckham of the Galaxy runs the ball during the friendly match between the Newcastle Jets and the LA Galaxy at EnergyAustralia Stadium on November 27 2010 in Newcastle Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

A look at David Beckham's performance at Central Midfield on Saturday, with past precedents and future prognosticating.

It's a move that's been made before. At the beginning of last year, when David was on loan with Milan, he started at central midfield against his old team, Manchester United, in a Champions League match. Sir Alex Ferguson went on the record afterward saying he thought Milan was wrong to play Beckham in central midfield. Not that Sir Alex never made the switch himself; Beckham started there in the Champions League final against Bayern Munich in 1999 when both Paul Scholes and Roy Keane were suspended. The fear is, when you play Beckham in the middle, you lose his crossing. 

But after the 4-1 drubbing in Salt Lake, Los Angeles Galaxy coach Bruce Arena decided to change things up by playing Beckham in a central midfield position, on the same side as Landon Donovan, with Chris Birchall playing the wing position Beckham normally played. 

"I thought David played well tonight. I think we're getting him back to the kind of form he needs to be in. We played him centrally and I think he did a good job. He helped our passing and I was pretty impressed with his effort tonight."

The move changed the way the Galaxy ran their offense, and though it's a small sample size, it did work against the union. The Galaxy ran the ball through the middle, holding the ball waiting for an opportunity. The club was winning the possession battle their first two games, but the offense was coming off the wings. From behind the play, Beckham could watch things develop as Landon Donovan and Juan Pablo Angel created chances, and got to take a shot from outside the box on a free ball, a move that Juninho has used to much success from that same central position.

"Bruce just said to me, do you want to try something different," David Beckham said. "It worked well tonight, we kept the ball well, we passed the ball well, and we created chances. I've played that position a number of times before...for Man United, Milan, and even England." 

Time will tell if this is a permanent move for David Beckham in the later stages of his career, or if this was just a one time wrinkle. Beckham's ability to hold the ball in the middle, and Juninho's creativity could work well for the Galaxy as the team tries to figure out a form to take them past tough Western Conference clubs like Salt Lake. 

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