Beckham’s Career Can Reach 2014 World Cup

8:56am UK, Monday November 23, 2009

Ian Dovaston, Sports correspondent

David Beckham could collect over 150 England caps and play in the 2014 World Cup, according to the medical mastermind who extended the careers of two football legends. 

Beckham’s muscle mass puts him at an advantage in prolonging his career.

Jean Pierre Meerseman’s mysterious techniques at the Milan Lab allowed Paolo Maldini and Alessandro Costacurta to play on to the age of 41. He believes 34-year-old Beckham – who will link up with AC Milan and Meersemann late next month – could follow suit if he avoids serious injury.

In an exclusive interview with Sky News, the Belgian Chiropractor was asked if he thought Beckham could play on at international level until 2014. “If he doesn’t have severe injuries, nothing very traumatic, there is absolutely no reason why he couldn’t,” he said.

“I really believe so. The way he is not a very big muscle mass, rather tiny, it’s all to his advantage in prolonging that kind of career.”

Meersemann collates millions of statistics on players, but it is how he uses the information that makes him and Daniele Tognaccini, the Milan Lab’s chief athletic officer, different. The techniques are highly marketable, helping clubs save millions of pounds if their top footballers can play on into their forties.

Meerseman said Beckham could play next year’s World Cup on one leg. Fixing a hole in Beckham’s teeth last year apparently helped with back problems, running and balance. “We pay a lot of attention to the teeth and how teeth come together,” said Meersemann. “All information comes from your brain all the way down. And it passes through a big hole (at the base of the skull) which sometimes gets a little distorted.”

After his arrival at Milan last season, Beckham’s upper legs were considered to be under-strength. Tognaccini said: “When David arrived in Milanello, he worked a lot in the sand. Ten days continuously, running at maximum level. The sand is a good thing for improving the strength of the (upper) leg.”

Beckham played with LA Galaxy in America’s MLS Cup final on Sunday. His team lost on penalties to Real Salt Lake. The midfielder needed three pain-killing injections before the game because of an ankle injury. Beckham is now contracted to AC Milan until the end of the season, and will be first available for their game against Genoa on January 6. He will be hoping for a call-up to his fourth World Cup from England head coach Fabio Capello in May.

Chiropractor Meerseman said ‘We started to accumulate data from the structural area, i.e. how is the spine working, the teeth, feet, etc, and biophysical data plus the psychological data. We set up the Lab with apparatus that could feed the neural network and come up with results. Players are tested every fortnight and cause-and-effect data is collected every day.’

Tennis player Kim Clijsters returned from Milan last year with a gumshield and saying: ‘In the past I always had continuing hip problems. I got in contact with Jean-Pierre Meersseman from the Milan Lab, who tested me. First, I had to get used to it, but now I feel really good with it . I feel more stable and my bones react better in heavy matches. It’s a small detail that can make a difference.’