Passing of the torch
Cast your mind back to July 1, 2006, when an injured Beckham headed to the bench after being substituted in England's World Cup quarter-final contest against Portugal. Up until that point, England, led by captain Beckham, had looked limp, lifeless and uninspired.
Enter Lennon in Beckham's place, and suddenly the Three Lions roared to life. Lennon introduced speed, purpose, invention and a cutting edge to the English attack – something that Beckham failed to do – and England firmly took control of the game before Wayne Rooney was sent off 10 minutes after the Spurs winger entered the contest.
England went on to lose in a penalty shootout – don't they always? – but some good came of the defeat to the Portuguese, as a passing of the torch took place: Beckham was the past, Lennon the future.
In those 10 minutes against Portugal, Lennon looked far more dangerous than Beckham had in the entire tournament, and proved that he should have been starting on the right side of midfield all along.
It was clear to any objective viewer and to the most ardent Beckham supporter that his best days were past and that Lennon had deservedly leapfrogged him in the pecking order and was England's new starting right midfielder.
Still no sniff for Lennon
That was almost three years ago, and Lennon still hasn't been given the chance to supersede Beckham because the former Manchester United star hasn't announced his international retirement because he has foolishly convinced himself he still has something to offer.
The only thing Beckham can offer England is more disappointment.
And yet he lingers like the flu, and seems destined to continue to plague England with more mediocrity.
Lennon's time has come. With only nine caps to his name, Lennon must be thrown into the starting lineup now and be given the responsibility of patrolling the right side of midfield so that he is fully prepared for next year's World Cup in South Africa.
England can not afford to hinder Lennon's progress and continue to indulge Beckham.
It's time for Beckham to do the right thing and walk way from the national team in order to give younger players – Lennon, Theo Walcott, Shaun Wright-Phillips – a chance and the opportunity to do what he was never able to achieve as captain: help England win a tournament.
And if he isn't willing to do it, then Capello should have the good sense to show him the door.
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