DAVID Beckham has been left out of the England squad and what surprises me are the people who are surprised about the decision.

I didn't think he was ever a realistic choice, as he has not played in a competitive game since November.

Maybe further down the road, when he gets back into playing soccer in the USA, he will come back into the reckoning.

But the worry for new England boss Fabio Capello will be that the standard over there is not necessarily the highest.

The two also seemed to fall out a bit when they were at Real Madrid together and, although Beckham is one cap short of 100, Capello seems like someone who will pick players purely on ability.

He's not going to be moved by emotion and it's nice to know he is not afraid to make what he feels is the right decision, no matter what others think.

I just felt that the last two managers were too close to the players and projected an attitude that: "If you speak well of me in public I'll make sure you're picked."

It seemed to me they basically reached the stage where they were frightened to make decisions.

Capello appears to be a very strong-minded character and I think he will keep a certain distance from the players, as we always had with the likes of Alf Ramsey.

There was no way we could ever have phoned up the England manager to speak to him and I don't think that's the right way for players to get on with whoever's in charge.

You have got to have that dividing line and I just wonder if that ever really existed with the last two managers.

Everyone agrees the team hasn't produced recently and maybe part of the reason is the players have had it a bit cushy.

But the slate is wiped clean now and there is a new chance for everybody.

I think it is healthy that players like Aston Villa's Curtis Davies, whether you agree he is ready or not, have the opportunity to be involved and it's not just the same old faces.

Martin O'Neill must be absolutely delighted to have five of his players called up into the squad and it is a further boost for the club, which is doing so well, and another indication of how good his managerial skills are.