David Beckham will be on the bench for the start of his first Serie A soccer match.
The Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder, on loan to AC Milan, will not be in the starting lineup when Milan visits AS Roma on Sunday in a key Italian first division matchup.
Beckham has not played a competitive game since the end of Major League Soccer's regular season in October.
Beckham did play the first half of an exhibition match with German club Hamburg in Dubai on Tuesday, but Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti said the English midfielder isn't ready to start a regular-season game.
Could see action
Ancelotti did reveal, however, that Beckham could see action as a substitute against Roma.
"Beckham is ready to play, even if he has been out of action for two months. But it is therefore difficult to give him a starting spot in the match against Roma," Ancelotti told a news conference Saturday.
Ancelotti also said he wouldn't mind if the Englishman remained with the club after his loan spell is done.
"He is ready to give an important contribution and we at Milan are happy he will be with us, if only for two months," Ancelotti said.
"If then he wants to stay with us, it would be great, but the contract he has with Milan is clear and I believe he will respect it."
Earlier this week Alexi Lalas, Los Angeles's former general manager, suggested Beckham might quit the Galaxy and remain in Italy where the level of competition and quality of play is higher than in the MLS.
"If I was still at the Galaxy, yes, I'd fear [him leaving]," said Lalas. "He has to do what he feels is appropriate for his career. I think he wants to do well with the Galaxy but you only have one career."
But Beckham, who is under contract to Los Angeles until 2012, has consistently said he will return to the Galaxy in early March in time for the new MLS season.