PARIS: Paris Saint-Germain’s new star recruit, English veteran David Beckham (pictured), will start in the French Cup round of 16 encounter against rivals Marseille, coach Carlo Ancelotti said yesterday.
“Yes, Beckham will start in the position of (suspended midfielder) Marco Verratti,” Ancelotti told reporters before today’s game.
“It’s an important position,” added Ancelotti. “Beckham must help make the play and defensively have a good tactical position on the pitch -- he will have the same things to do as Verratti,” said Ancelotti, who believes the 37-year-old still has plenty to offer.
“Can he still take corners and freekicks? He has the quality to do so,” said the Italian. “Beckham can play a whole match, he has the quality to play in the middle of the park.”
The former Manchester United and Real Madrid star, on a five-month contract, made a cameo debut appearance from the bench at the weekend, setting up the second goal in a 2-0 league win over Marseille which put the capital club three points clear.
Marseille coach Elie Baup, having been on the receiving end of Beckham’s talents last Sunday, said yesterday his men were forewarned as they look to end their rivals’ cup hopes.
Noting PSG’s speed in launching attacks, he suggested the former England star was a good fit for his new club.
“Beckham absolutely has his place in the role of supplier -- he sent in a few balls during the quarter hour he played. If PSG retain the same strategy as Sunday he will rapidly fit the mould in terms of passing and dead ball situations.
“But we will be out to get the best result possible. Paris are putting in place a future of the highest quality but in a one-off match we can knock them out of their stride and get a result,” Baup insisted.
While PSG are targeting a domestic league and cup double, something they have never achieved before, this match is arguably more important for Marseille.
They are now eight points adrift of top spot in Ligue 1, meaning the Cup represents their only realistic hope of winning any silverware this season.
The Marseille squad have stayed in the Paris area to prepare for what will be the fourth meeting of the clubs this season, with PSG having won one and drawn one of the two encounters.
They also won 2-0 when the teams met in the last 16 of the League Cup. AFP