David Beckham broke Bobby Moore’s outfield appearance record for England, coming on as a second-half substitute to earn his 109th cap in a 4-0 friendly win over Slovakia at Wembley.
Now only goalkeeper Peter Shilton, with 125 caps, stands in the way of the midfielder becoming the most-capped England international of all time. Aston Villa forward Emile Heskey had given Fabio Capello’s side an early lead, only to then go off injured, while Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney headed in a cross from Beckham to make it 2-0 on 70 minutes. Frank Lampard added a third and Rooney a fourth in stoppage time as England warmed up in style for Wednesday’s World Cup clash with Ukraine. Heskey opened the scoring in the eighth minute with his first England goal in six years, prodding home Steven Gerrard’s cross at the near post. And Heskey should really have doubled his account just two minutes later but he headed Rooney’s cross over the bar from close range. To complete an eventful first half, Heskey was forced to come off injured with an Achilles problem.
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With England always in control, the introduction of Beckham at half-time gave a large Wembley crowd plenty to cheer, and the on-loan AC Milan star again showed his dead-ball expertize by supplying a pin-point free-kick for Rooney to add England’s second. England’s third goal arrived when Michael Carrick supplied the pass for Lampard to finish — and Rooney had the last word with a delightful chip to round off a satisfying evening for Fabio Capello’s side. But, once again, Beckham was the star of the show, and the 33-year-old could not hide his delight at setting a new record. “I am very proud. When you grow up, you dream about playing for your country and at Wembley,” Beckham told PA Sport. “To play 109 times for England is obviously very special for me and for my family. “I dedicate it to my family, because they are the ones who have been through the ups and downs of my career and been there for the good times and also the bad times. “It has been a roller coaster, but it has been a special night tonight. All my family were here, so it meant a lot to me,” he added.