Romeo Beckham – son of Victoria and David – rocking up to play in Brentford’s B Team has inevitably made a few headlines – but is this just a publicity stunt or is there more to it?
Following in the Manchester United legend’s footsteps out on the right wing, the 20-year-old also has a handful of appearances under his belt for Inter Miami. Is that just nepotism? Or is Beckham junior actually a half-decent footballer with a chance of making it?
With Romeo having played for Brentford B against Erith & Belvedere in the London Senior Cup earlier this week, we’ve taken a closer look at his weird career path so far to work out whether he has a future in the game.
Where did Romeo Beckham start his career?
Romeo Beckham supports Arsenal, having grown up in London and attended the Gunners’ famous Hale End academy alongside his brothers Brooklyn and Cruz.
All three siblings were released, and for a time Romeo turned his back on his dreams of making it as a footballer.
He briefly flirted with tennis, training with Andy Murray and playing on a custom-built $40,000 tennis court in his Cotswolds backyard, but soon turned his attention back to football – according to reports, the tennis court was bulldozed and replaced with a football pitch.
Will Romeo Beckham make it as a professional footballer?
Let’s start with a caveat. He only turned 20 in September, and that’s too young to totally write off any player.
You’ve got the likes of Jude Bellingham and Jamal Musiala, but those are exceptions – in the entirety of world football, there are only a few dozen teenagers that already look capable at the very top level.
Many, if not most, of the future stars of tomorrow are still plugging away in youth football and aren’t yet household names. So the fact that Beckham’s not yet played a competitive match for Inter Miami’s first team isn’t necessarily a reason to write him off.
But Beckham is now approaching an age where it’s sink or swim for his prospects of making it as a professional footballer, and he’s competing with thousands of talented kids that are desperate to fulfil their childhood dreams.
Ignore the surname. Think of him as any other player, which for all intents and purposes he is in an industry where ability ultimately always shines through. Now browse through the Inter Miami II and Brentford B squads.
You never know, one or two of those players might forge a career in MLS or a top European league. A few might earn a modest living in non-league or the lower tiers of the North American game. But the vast majority will have to find a different career. That’s the simple ruthless reality of academy football.
Having a famous dad has helped get him this far, but is ultimately irrelevant now.
— Brentford FC (@BrentfordFC) January 10, 2023
Is Romeo Beckham any good at football?
“I thought he did really well,” said Phil Neville after young Beckham made his professional debut in September 2021, for Inter Miami side’s sister team Fort Lauderdale in a 2-2 draw with South Georgia Tormenta.
“I think the measure of his performance was that he was only planned to play 45 minutes, and he played nearly 80 minutes because he is a boy that is hungry. He has got a lot of pressure and expectations on his shoulders, but what he has got is he has got his feet firmly on the ground.
“He knows he has got a lot of development to do, and he has got all the right attributes, character, determination, good person, to have a really good opportunity of making it in professional football.”
It’s worth taking that assessment with a healthy pinch of salt, given the forward only had 12 touches that day and Neville has known Romeo’s father since they were teenagers. But Neville has stressed that: “The first thing that David said to me was, ‘You have got to be harder on him than anyone else,’”.
Since that debut, Beckham has gone on to make 20 appearances for Inter Miami II in the MLS Next Pro. He’s scored two goals and registered 10 assists, averaging a direct contribution to goal every 151 minutes.
That’s a respectable enough record at what’s effectively youth level, but the MLS reserve league was only formed in 2022 and we’re yet to see a precedent for what performing at that level means for the step up to senior football. If it’s anything like the difference between the Premier League and Premier League II, there’s a chasm.
19-year-old Romeo Beckham scored his first goal of the season for Inter Miami II on a beautiful free kick 👀 pic.twitter.com/KIWsy2JBUv
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) July 11, 2022
Did Romeo Beckham play against Barcelona?
Beckham’s cameo in Inter Miami’s friendly against Barcelona back in July was the source of controversy.
Xavi’s side ran out 6-0 winners, while Beckham was introduced to play the final five minutes. He featured alongside Phil Neville’s son Harvey.
Unsurprisingly, he barely got a sniff during his short time on the pitch, but the Inter Miami boss thought it was a valuable lesson.
“It was a brilliant occasion to play, you could feel the buzz in the air, the supporters,” said Neville.
“I thought it was a brilliant learning experience for all involved, I thought that we had to dig in, we had to fight.”
What are the chances of him coming up against a Simeone?
We’d love to see a quirky bit of history repeated. All three of Diego Simeone’s sons turning out in the professional game today meaning there’s an outside possibility of Romeo coming up against the offspring of his dad’s famous nemesis from France ’98.
El Cholo’s eldest, Giovanni, has made a decent career in the game. He’s been capped five times for Argentina and is currently featuring for Scudetto-chasing Napoli. Gianluca Simeone, 24, plays for Spanish lower-league side Xerez Deportivo FC. Giuliano Simeone, who is the same age as Romeo Beckham, is on Atletico Madrid’s books and is currently out on loan with Segunda Division side Real Zaragoza.
Unless Romeo Beckham surprises us all and makes it to the very top, following in his dad’s footsteps and turning out in La Liga, we can’t see it coming to pass. But stranger things have happened.