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I think David Beckham is overrated in too many ways to count – starting with his much-touted sex appeal and fashion sense – and clearly his England teammates felt the same way. Football super-agent Pini Zahavi attributes England's devastating World Cup defeat to "intense jealousy" amongst players toward Beckham. From The Guardian:
"The problem in the World Cup was that the players gave only 30% of their ability," said Zahavi. "That was because there was a big problem of jealousy inside the team. It's something that nobody else has talked about before but the fact is a lot of the players didn't like the status of David Beckham in the team. They were jealous of Beckham. They haven't talked about it but this was the thing that failed the team in Germany.
"That is probably why Steve McClaren decided to get rid of him from the squad when he took over. A lot of players didn't like the way Beckham was treated as a superstar. They didn't like the status he had in the team and they felt he didn't deserve that status compared to what he could do on the pitch."
Zahavi's revelations, which he claims came from conversations with England coach Sven Goran Eriksson, is yet another black-eye for British football in a time when its reputation is suffering at home and abroad. I don't blame the players for resenting the praise dolloped upon Becks, but one would hope that trained athletes could see past their bruised egos for the greater, all-around goal.
In other news:
- Mel C. has the last word on the Spice Girls reunion. "I saw Geri and Emma three weeks ago and it is the last thing on everyone's mind at the moment. There are no plans for a Spice Girls tour, with or without me. Robbie Williams must have found it hard watching Take That go back on tour and be so successful. If I was the one left out of the Spice Girls, I'd regret it."
- Titanic duo Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio will reunite for Revolutionary Road, a film to be directed by Kate's hubby, Sam Mendes.
- Winslet says the super-intrusive UK press forced her and hubby Mendes to relocate to the U.S. (Contact Music)
- Jane Austen is too fugly for the 21st century. (BBC)
- The James Bond soundstage has re-opened a year after it was destroyed by a devastating fire. (BBC)
- Quentin Tarantino lays claim to the gritty new Bond in Casino Royale: "I resent that none of them gave me a shout out that I'm the one got them making Casino Royale." (Mirror)
- Jamelia wants to be the next Bond girl. (Mirror)
- The Guardian calls House the best thing on telly – and says UK TV could learn a lot from it.
- Amy Winehouse gropes Kelly Osbourne's bum, cancels gig. (Mirror)
- Amy Winehouse can add Mick Jagger to her ever-growing list of celeb admirers: he has invited her to duet with him at the Isle of Wight Festival. (NME)
- The Daily Mail pulls a drive-by on Catherine Zeta-Jones, calling her "weathered," "wrinkly," "frumpy," "tired," and "matronly."
- Steve Coogan hints at a return to his comedic roots: he could resurrect his Paul and Pauline Calf characters, which catapulted Coogan to stardom in the UK in the 1990s.
- Tony Blair says Margaret Thatcher's decision to go to war in the Falklands was "courageous" and he would have done the same. "When I look back, I mean I was much, much younger at the time obviously, but when I look back, yes, I have got no doubt it was the right thing to do."
- UK band Enter Shikari show other unsigned artists how to build a major following amongst young people. (Guardian)
- Ioan Gruffudd on his role in Amazing Grace in The Times: "You read the script and you see the laudanum addiction, and the colitis and you think, 'Yes! At last – something I can get my teeth into!'"
- Sir Paul McCartney recuperates from his divorce with a spot of Guinness (Daily Mail)
- Simon Cowell admits he should have told Louis Walsh he was being fired from X-Factor.
- I doubt Louis Walsh will accept an apology, given his quote in Daily Mail. "It's all me, me, me – that's the way he is on and off the show. Sometimes I think that he is so arrogant and pompous. He is so argumentative, but he doesn't have any musical integrity. He is outdated in his musical tastes and the things he likes. He likes big ballads which are very outdated."
- Kate Moss is featured in a video podcast for the launch of her Topshop design collection.
- Is blue-eyed soul star Robin Thicke morphing into George Michael?
- The New York Daily News declares The Fratellis "the Arctic Monkeys of the month, if not the minute."
- Bloc Party frontman Kele Okereke's interview with the Boston Globe goes a lot more smoothly than his San Francisco Chronicle one.
- Has Naomi Campbell sparked a "budding relationship" with a fellow "con"? I swear, this woman knows how to make the most of a bad situation.
- A nice interview with Robin Hood's Jonas Armstrong. "I've been sacked from every job I had…I never smiled while I was at work. I don't know why."
- Paolo Nutini says he's not getting blasted every night – and he has a good reason not to. "I was getting acid coming up into my stomach and my lining was gone. What the doctor said was that the lining had nearly dissolved and is dissolving. That's not good. It is quite common but, as a singer, I have had to take it easy. Though I still drink a lot of Red Stripe beer, which I like."
- David Tennant has signed a deal that will make him nearly $2 million a year as Doctor Who.
- David Tennant is thrilled to have been voted the "Most Fanciable Male" by gay men. "I was delighted and flattered to be chosen – they have such good taste." (The Sun)
- Ricky Gervais admits to some very Woody Allen-esque neuroses in his interview with The Times. "No, I don't fear death. I fear dying. If someone said there's a new law that says you'll never know when you're going to die and you'll always die in your sleep, what an amazing life you'd have! It's fear of knowing. It's too much to think of. If only I believed in God. Why the f*** am I so cocky? Why didn't I just believe in it?"
- Andrew Lloyd Webber, in his follow-up to the reality series How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?, is hunting for a Joseph to wear a technicolor dreamcoat.
- Is Pharrell of the Neptunes producing the next Towers of London album? Donny Tourette says so. "Pharrell Williams has been on the blower about producing our next album. So that'll be a good one – that's an exclusive actually."
- Princess Eugenie will celebrate her 17th birthday with a low-key affair.
- The BBC celebrates the 30th anniversary of the miniseries Roots.