David Beckham's dream of playing in a fourth World Cup for England is still alive.
English national team manager Fabio Capello is quoted in Monday's edition of the Gazzetta dello Sport, Italy's top sports daily, as saying he would consider bringing the 34-year-old Beckham to South Africa if he plays regularly during his second loan stint with AC Milan.
"Of course, if he plays and is well physically. I don't look at ages," Capello said. "I look at skill and Beckham has a lot. He's serious, a real professional and he's really dedicated to making the World Cup squad."
A former captain of the English national team, Beckham arrived in Italy on Monday for his second loan with Milan. He also played with the European club last season, after the Los Angeles Galaxy agreed to allow him to go out on loan in order to boost his chances of making England's World Cup squad.
Since taking over the English national team in 2008, Capello has said players must be on the field regularly for top clubs to gain a spot on England's World Cup roster.
Beckham, who turns 35 in May, impressed fans and critics alike last year during his loan spell with Milan, and hopes another solid run with the Rossoneri will pave the way to a spot in the World Cup with England.
Capello is confident Beckham will excel in Serie A.
"He will again do good for Milan because he has the right head on his shoulders," said the Italian manager.
3 World Cups for England
Beckham has earned 115 caps for England — a record for a non-goalkeeper — and has played in three World Cups for his country (1998, 2002 and 2006), scoring a goal in each tournament.
Capello replaced Steve McClaren, who was fired after England failed to qualify for Euro 2008.
McClaren's first move when he became manager in August 2006 was to drop Beckham, only to bring him back later when England's Euro 2008 qualifying campaign was in tatters.
Capello has used Beckham sparingly since taking over from McClaren.
England opens the World Cup on June 12 against the United States.