Beckham could return on Thursday as a substitute

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LOS ANGELES, Oct 18 (Reuters) Former England captain David Beckham could return after injury today as a substitute in Los Angeles Galaxy's league game against the New York Red Bulls.

''He would be a pretty valuable substitute if he's available,'' coach Frank Yallop told the team's Web site(www.lagalaxy.com) yesterday. ''We know the quality of David so if he is feeling good and we want to do it, we will.

''I think he's going to be a little bit rusty obviously but I think he's moving well. He looks like he's not hindered by anything at the moment.'' The 32-year-old midfielder has been sidelined since late August after spraining ligaments in his right knee.

Beckham's absence has coincided with a turnaround in fortunes for the Galaxy, who have won their last five games and are in with a chance of reaching the playoffs with two matches left to play.

Yallop said there was no chance of Beckham being rushed back into the starting lineup before he was ready.

''He's not close to being 100 percent, we're not going to force him in there,'' said Yallop.

''It would be nice to get him on the field at some point because he's such a good player.'' REUTERS BJR AS1341

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