DAVID BECKHAM admits the England Wags of 2004 and 2006 – including his own wife Victoria – went “a bit too far” during major tournaments.
The Three Lions were infamously stationed in Baden-Baden at the 2006 World Cup in Germany.
It is a resort that became synonymous with the antics of the wives and girlfriends of those in the squad in the build-up and aftermath of games.
Led by Victoria, Cheryl and Coleen Rooney, they gained more publicity than the players with tales of drunk dancing on tables and mammoth hotel party bills.
Current Three Lions boss Gareth Southgate has rejected plans for England Wags to star in a Netflix documentary during this winter's World Cup.
But England boss at the time Sven-Goran Eriksson dismissed the distractions of the Wags for their quarter final exit on penalties against Portugal – where Wayne Rooney was sent off – as a “stupid excuse”.
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But speaking with ex-Manchester United teammate Gary Neville on The Overlap, Beckham said: “There was a lot of attention around the families but I always believed, as an England captain, having the kids around and wives or girlfriends wasn’t a bad thing.
“But looking back, that whole culture, there was a lot of attention, and whether people behaved themselves in the right manner… I don’t know.
“Even Victoria, she is the first to say when she looks back: ‘What was I doing? What was I wearing? Why would I do that?’ I think it went a bit too far.
“There was more spoken about the Wags than the football. At that time, for the players, you want to focus on the tournament rather than anything else.
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“I do think it went too far but I do believe having them there at the right time is a good thing.”
That era was known for the Golden Generation with the likes of Becks, Rooney, Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard, Paul Scholes, John Terry and Rio Ferdinand in the same team.
They ultimately underperformed on the big stages, never making it past the quarter finals at a major tournament – with many ex-players claiming there were too many cliques.
But Beckham disagrees, and when asked how he would sum up his England career having made 115 caps – 58 of them as skipper – he explained: “I don’t have any regrets other than not winning something.
“It was disappointing because over those years we had great players, a great team. We just weren’t good enough on the day.
“I have heard numerous people come out and say well there were cliques and some players didn’t talk to other players.
It is not about cliques or Liverpool players not liking United players
“I don’t care whether players talk to each other eating dinner or in the changing room, the moment you get on that pitch you don’t care. You are a professional.
“It is not about cliques or Liverpool players not liking United players.”
Beckham’s lowest moment in an England shirt was at the 1998 World Cup in France as he was sent off for kicking out at Argentina’s Diego Simeone in the last 16.
Glenn Hoddle’s England went on to get knocked out on penalties, and Becks was slaughtered for several years afterwards, receiving death threats off the pitch.
Beckham recalled: “It is all still a bit of a blur that time, but I remember how tough it was.
“It was a moment where I reacted and it was a moment of madness. When I look back on my career and talk about regrets I wished that had never have happened.
“But if it hadn’t I may not have had the career I had or been as strong as I was afterwards to get through some of the stuff I went through.
“I turned it into a positive but you never want that to happen. It is probably harsh to say I still feel let down by that [people who didn’t support him after that incident].
“I don’t think I have ever been as emotional as I was coming out of that ground and seeing my mum and dad.
“I was uncontrollably sobbing which was slightly embarrassing because the Argentina bus was going past and they were all banging the windows.
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“I felt that I had let a lot of people down but I didn’t expect what would happen for the next few years.
“I knew it was going to be a tough moment but I never expected it to be as bad as it was.”
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