Why brand Beckham continues to endure

I've read many a Tweet and comment from the media recently questioning why David Beckham has gone to South Africa with the England World Cup squad this summer.

It's almost unheard of for a player to remain with a squad having been injured months before the final selection is made.

The fact that Beckham is a former captain and brings a media circus with him wherever he goes also underlines why coach Fabio Capello may have been reluctant to allow Beckham to tag along.

Capello was keen to point out that Beckham was not with the squad as a coach, having not yet completed all the qualifications or been appointed by the Football Association in such a role.

Young winger Theo Walcott may have said that Beckham would help him improve as a player, but that prospect was shot down by the Arsenal winger failing to make the final 23.

But you only have to see how children flocked to Beckham at Monday's friendly between England and Platinum Stars to see why Beckham will prove to be invaluable to English football.

The fact is, you don't have to be a football fan to know who David Beckham is.

Beckham has had to suffer from criticism from his managers at both club and international level (including Capello at one stage when he was at Real Madrid), being blamed for England's exit from the World Cup in 1998 and reports of marital problems and yet he remains one of the most popular sports figures in the world.

Beckham provides a walking advertisement for the England 2018 World Cup bid, doing much as he did with London 2012 in using his charm, diplomacy and global appeal to remind voters why he has come to symbolise so much that is positive about the modern game.

After the troubles surrounding Lord Triesman, which did some minor damage to the England bid at least, Beckham is a genuine superstar who will follow the likes of Pele, Cruyff and Zidane as an icon long after his career has finished.

Beckham will also be an ambassador for Yahoo having agreed to become a global ambassador in an agreement announced on Tuesday.

For all his celebrity, his endorsements, the razzamatazz and media circus that comes with Beckham, he does a huge amount of work for charity and his genuine love for sport, young people and his engaging personality make him an asset to any brand, to any cause.

That is why, depsite leaving European football three years ago to finish his career in the wastelands of the MLS in the United States, (loan moves to AC Milan notwithstanding), Beckham remains such an icon.