MANCHESTER UTD vs AC MILAN
DAVID BECKHAM insists he will have no nerves when he faces Manchester United at Old Trafford for the first time with AC Milan tonight.
The England midfielder makes his first return to his former club since leaving for Real Madrid seven years ago, and was mobbed by fans as he arrived at Manchester Airport with his Milan team-mates yesterday.
Beckham is still revered by United fans and admits he is looking forward to an emotional reunion with the supporters and several of his old team-mates.
But the 34-year-old says his focus remains on helping the Rossoneri overturn their 3-2 first-leg deficit, courtesy of Wayne Rooney’s fine brace at the San Siro three weeks ago.
“I’m not nervous,” Beckham said on his arrival. “Coming back to Manchester as a Milan player is exciting. It will be a tough game for us but nothing is impossible.”
Speaking to the Milan website, he added: “I will always be a Manchester United fan and this is perhaps the first time in my life that I want them to lose. I’ll meet up with many friends and all the people who supported me for many years on the night.
“I played in that stadium for many years and I know what it means to be a Manchester United player. But I also know what it means for opponents to play there.”
Beckham’s emotional return will naturally grab the headlines, but United boss Sir Alex Ferguson believes his former player will be consigned to a place on the substitute’s bench as Milan look to become the first side to overturn a first-leg deficit and beat United in a two-legged European tie.
“I am finding it difficult to pick their team but I don’t know whether Beckham will start,” Ferguson said. “He has not started a game since the first leg, so it is difficult to say what impact he will have on the game. But he will be there and the one thing you have to be aware of is his delivery of the ball, which is fantastic.”
The good news for United is that Rooney has shrugged off a slight knee problem and starts, although defender Wes Brown’s recovery from his foot injury has been set at between four to six weeks.