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Beckham must wait before making PSG debut

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JEROME PUGMIRE | February 16, 2013 10:07 AM EST | AP


SAINT-GERMAIN-EN-LAYE, France — David Beckham will have to wait at least one more week to make his debut for Paris Saint-Germain because his coach says he needs to get in better shape.

Coach Carlo Ancelotti ruled out the 37-year-old former England captain for Sunday's match against Sochaux in the French league.

"He will stay here and work," Ancelotti said Saturday. "He will stay here and improve his physical condition. He still needs to work, and with a week's work he will be ready the following week against Marseille."

PSG hosts title rival Marseille on Feb. 24 and again three days later in the French Cup.

"I think he can play easily against Marseille after one week more training, no problem," Ancelotti said. "I will make the decision whether he starts or not."

Beckham, looking to win a league championship in a fourth country, started full training with PSG this week and has not played since his last appearance for the Los Angeles Galaxy on Dec. 1. He worked out last week in London with personal fitness trainers.

"The level of French football is high, there is a lot of rhythm, a lot of intensity," Ancelotti said, adding he plans to use Beckham either in a defensive central midfield role or out wide on the right.

"He brings his experience, his quality, his professionalism. These are the things we need from David," said Ancelotti, who is close to Beckham after coaching him at AC Milan. "I'm not just keeping him for the Cup or the Champions League. He can play in every match."

Entering this weekend's matches, PSG leads Lyon by six points and Marseille by eight.

"We are in very good form at the moment," Ancelotti said, referring to PSG's unbeaten start to the year.

PSG took a step toward reaching the Champions League quarterfinals by winning 2-1 at Valencia this week.