David Beckham has hailed praise on the character of Manchester United great Sir Bobby Charlton, claiming his own career would have got nowhere without the help of the England legend.
Charlton is being honoured as he turns 80, the subject of a BBC documentary: Sir Bobby Charlton at 80.
Beckham, of course, is a Man United great himself, having lifted numerous Premier League titles as well as the famous league, FA Cup and UEFA Champions League treble of 1999.
Yet, without Charlton, none of that would have been possible, Beckham has said.
“That’s how my career started at Manchester United. I went to [the Bobby Charlton soccer school] at 10 years old and went back there the year after and ended up winning the competition.”
“That was when Sir Bobby contacted Manchester United and said ‘maybe you should have a look out for this young kid’.
“So I owe everything to Sir Bobby because, if not, maybe I wouldn’t have had the chance of living my dream of playing for the club that I’d supported for so many years and the club my Dad supported.”
Beckham wasn’t content with just praising the role of Charlton in his career, but added that his off-field character is a tribute to the man.
“He has always been about being successful, but even more so about helping other people. That’s what’s so special about him – he’s respected on the field, but even more so off the field,” Beckham said.
Charlton, having had to meet thousands of United and England fans in his life, is still warm and welcoming to all those who have the honour of meeting him.
Very few other figures can claim to be so closely linked with Manchester United. You think of Sir Bobby when you think of the club and of Old Trafford, and vice versa.
It’s remarkable to think that Sir Bobby not only contributed in his own way but also gave United the opportunity to sign Beckham, another one of England’s greats, through his actions after his own career had ended.