David Beckham has admitted it hurts him to watch the England team in action since he was left out of the plans of coach Steve McClaren following the World Cup finals.
The Real Madrid star is aware he is unlikely to ever play for his country again after winning the last of his 94 caps against Portugal in Germany.
Beckham insists he is not jealous of the current players bidding for Euro 2008 glory and wants England to fulfil their potential.
Beckham, in an interview on ITV’s The Sharon Osbourne Show, said: “I’m gutted not to be part of the England set-up any more and I was surprised when I got the phone call (from McClaren). I am disappointed.
“I wouldn’t lie about it – and it hurts me to watch the England team without me being in it.
“But I’ve watched them because I believe in these players and this team. I think they are an amazing team and an amazing set of players.
“To be part of that for so many years was an amazing honour and nothing gets better than pulling on an England shirt and being England captain.”
Beckham insisted: “I genuinely want these players to win. Someone asked me recently ‘are you jealous of the players?’ I am not jealous of the players.
“I want them to do well and I want John Terry to be the best England captain there has ever been.”
Beckham admitted he was still scarred by England’s failure to live up to expectations in Germany with them losing on penalties to the Portuguese in the quarter-finals.
He said: “I still feel very bruised by the World Cup. After a big tournament like that, when you are expected to do well and you don’t, you are like that for a long while.”
Beckham also leapt to the defence of former England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson who has been much maligned since he left the post after the finals.
He said: “As a manager, he is one of the best I have played under. I know people will think: 'you are saying that because he had you in the team when other people didn’t think you should be in the team'.
“But it is not about me. I am talking about a manager who looked after and respected all of the players.
“When we went through the bad times, he would stand up and say: ‘it’s down to me, not the players’ and I’ve got total respect for him and will never have a bad word said about him.”
Madrid revealed earlier today that talks had begun with Beckham over a contract extension.
Beckham’s current deal ends next summer and sporting director Predrag Mijatovic told TVE television show El Rondo: “The renewal of Beckham’s contract is the decision of the club, he is very keen to stay here.
“The number of years for which his contract will be renewed is what we must first talk about with his representative.
“We are all delighted with Beckham and he wants to stay, those are the two fundamental things.”