Beckham backs Man United for EPL title
Former Red Devil also believes he was part of generation that made footballers healthier
Global superstar and Old Trafford favourite David Beckham has tipped his former club Manchester United to win the English Premier League title.
Having won six league titles, two FA Cups and one Champions League crown with United from 1992 to 2003, Beckham clearly approves of the swashbuckling football the joint-top Red Devils are currently dishing out under manager Jose Mourinho.
As the global ambassador for insurance group AIA, the 42-year-old was in Singapore for the AIA Vitality Healthy Cookout Showdown as part of an Asian tour to promote living well.
While the media were briefed to stay clear of football questions, Beckham, looking sharp in his suit and slicked-back hair, charmingly obliged when asked if United can win their 21st league title.
Said Beckham, who signed schoolboy forms with United on his 14th birthday: "I think so, and I hope so."
Even though he has now hung up his boots after a career that has seen him play in Spain (Real Madrid), the United States (LA Galaxy), Italy (AC Milan) and France (Paris Saint-Germain), it is obvious how dearly he still regards United, the club that put him on the path to superstardom.
Earlier this summer, he joined fellow Class of 92 alumni Paul Scholes and Gary Neville to visit their former United youth coach Eric Harrison, who was diagnosed with dementia this year.
Fergie's Fledglings, as they were dubbed, ended a 26-year league title drought and kick-started an era of dominance that yielded 13 EPL crowns from 1993 to 2013.
Beckham feels that the attention to details, such as a healthy diet and strong work ethics, was almost unheard of during the "steak and pies, let's have a pint" culture.
TIMES HAVE CHANGED
"I would like to think we were part of the generation that made athletes healthier, although I'm not sure if that's necessarily true," said Beckham.
"Times have changed, 15, 20 years ago when we were still playing, some of us could afford to have a pie during the week, or a pint the night before a game.
"But times have changed for the better as we see athletes who are looking leaner and fitter, which helps their team become more competitive, and the players are having their careers extended a lot longer than 15, 20 years ago.
"We had to eat the same thing, we cannot have a glass of wine from time to time, that kind of thing was frowned upon. But that's never bothered me because I've always tried to eat and drink the right things.
"And fitness levels depends on the way you take care of yourself, how you work out and what you eat."
According to a report in The Independent, footballers from the old First Division in 1976 covered an average of 8-11km per game, 25 per cent of which was spent walking and 11 per cent sprinting.
Physiologists reckon that EPL players now cover around 12-14 km per match, and that a greater percentage of that distance is run at top speed.
In a World Cup qualifier against Greece in 2001, Beckham ran a total of 16.1km.
These days, he still keeps in shape through cycling and boxing.
Beckham, who is well capable of whipping up a mean dish, revealed that his healthy eating habits have rubbed off on his four children.
"They love grilled shrimp, but also their salads. Cruz (Beckham's third son), especially, just loves his iceberg lettuce with healthy balsamic vinegar," said the former England captain, who married Spice Girls member Victoria in 1999.
"Obviously, they are kids and they are allowed burgers, chocolates and pasta bolognese but, like what we are trying to show here with AIA, it's about moderation, not about stopping everything you love."
Earlier in the week, he was in Hong Kong moulding mooncakes before heading to South Korea to make meatballs.
Yesterday afternoon, in front of 200 wide-eyed fans at Clifford Square, Beckham, who has taken a shine to chilli crabs here, watched locals take up AIA's challenge to whip up the healthiest and tastiest Singapore heritage dish.