David Beckham has made himself indispensable to England,and almost impossible for manager Steve McClaren to dismiss him again.
A pair of trademark deliveries to Peter Crouch and Michael Owen from the right flank by the former captain sparked England to a 3-0 win at Estonia on Wednesday, steadying its European Championship fortunes and likely quieting the critics of McClaren.
Whatever McClaren thought he was gaining by getting rid of Beckham after the World Cup, he can't afford to be without him now.
England's Joe Cole (L) celebrates his goal against Estonia with David Beckham during their Euro 2008 group E soccer match in Tallinn, Estonia June 6, 2007. [Reuters]
"He got a knock early on but didn't want to come off and when he's playing like that he's invaluable to us."
Chants of "There's only one David Beckham" reverberated around Tallinn's 10,000-capacity A Le Coq Arena.
Before starting in Tallinn, the Real Madrid midfielder wooed the Wembley crowd last week at Wembley in a 1-1 friendly draw with Brazil.
The visiting fans were left wondering how much brighter England's European Championship chances could be if the Real Madrid midfielder hadn't been dismissed last year.
McClaren wouldn't answer when pressed by if he had any regrets about dismissing Beckham.
With five rounds remaining, England trails Group E leaders Croatia and Israel by three points.
"I would love to be in the next squad," Beckham said. "Steve has made it clear that if I am performing and playing as I have been then I will be in the squad."
Despite wining plaudits since returning from international exile, with a new career at the Los Angeles Galaxy due to begin in July, McClaren wouldn't guarantee Beckham's future selection.
In August, England plays Germany in a friendly, followed by the next qualifier against Israel in September.
"We'll see when the next squad is announced," McClaren said. "He answers everybody with his performance on the field and I think he's done that in the last two games."
Beckham, who has 96 caps, is determined to continue serving his country.
"I will definitely be at the Euros," the 32-year-old said. "I believe I can carry on playing for a long time. The L.A. Galaxy will do everything possible to help me keep playing for my country."
Michael Owen, who received a cross from Beckham to score England's third, hailed the performance.
"It was a cracking ball for my goal," Owen said. "I think his quality is undoubted. Everyone knows he's probably the best crosser of the ball in the world. He's got great vision. He's a great passer of the ball and he has showed that again."
Now with helping squelch McClaren's critics, Beckham can focus on winning his first Spanish title.
Real Madrid is tied atop the Spanish league with FC Barcleona on points, but leads its archrival on a tiebreaker with two rounds remaining.