David Beckham says he is braced for criticism as he embarks on acting career
Former Manchester United midfielder hopes to use his status as a footballer to launch new profession on stage
David Beckham said he is braced for criticism as he embarks on a second career in acting, while admitting he still feels “pangs of regret” at no longer playing professional football.
The former Manchester United and Real Madrid midfielder, who once said he has no interest in “Hollywood glitz”, now hopes to match success on the football pitch with a stint on the stage.
He said he is aware that acting is a “tough profession” but added that he is “used to criticism”.
"I am very aware that many sportsmen and other celebrities have turned their hand to acting and failed," Beckham, 40, told The Times.
"I know that it is a tough profession, where you need a huge amount of skill and discipline, and I wouldn't want to push myself forward too soon, without learning more about it, and doing a lot more practice.
“But what I have done so far, I have loved. I can deal with most things. I am a well-known person, so I have got used to criticism."
Beckham announced in May 2013, while he was playing for Paris Saint-Germain, that he would retire at the end of that season.
While other retired footballers have taken up roles in sports management or commentating, Beckham has opted to try his hand at acting.
Guy Ritchie, who cast Beckham a speaking role in his film Knights of the Roundtable, due out next year, said the father-of-four has a promising career as an actor ahead of him.
"I had 13 lines and practised a huge amount beforehand," Beckham said. "Guy had someone come and rehearse with me, and I did that an hour every day in the build-up."
Beckham said that delivering the lines was "nerve-racking" but said it "went really well".
Beckham made a cameo appearance in an Only Fools and Horses sketch for Sport Relief last year, and went on to be cast alongside Harvey Keitel in a short film, Outlaws.
He said his children are under pressure from other fathers to perform well on the football pitch, saying they face far more scrutiny than their peers.
"In the evening, I take the boys to Arsenal for training," he said. "Romeo has just signed a two-year contract and Cruz has signed a one year deal. It's quite surreal watching them play, even now.
“I hear other dads saying: 'That's Beckham's son.' Or if they misplace a pass, I hear people muttering: 'That Beckham kid is not up to much, is he?'
“They get so much more scrutiny because of their dad, and that brings pressure."
Asked if he missed playing, Beckham said: "I would be lying if I said I didn't miss football. I still get these huge pangs of regret that am not out there any more.
"And the really weird thing is, I still think that, if I put my mind to it, I would be able to go out there and perform again. I guess that I will still think that when I am 50."