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Statue tribute to Beckham's status

HIGASHIURA, Japan -- Plans are under way to build statues of three key England soccer personalities, including team captain David Beckham, at the team's training base in a Hyogo Prefecture town, Japan's Kyodo News service reports.

"I want to place bronze statues of Beckham and others to promote the town's football practise field, which was praised by England," said Wasaburo Kashiwagi, mayor of Tsuna, England's World Cup base in Japan, is quoted as saying.

Even before the World Cup, Beckham had become a major celebrity in Japan with English Premier League matches featuring his team, Manchester United, shown live on television.

But Beckham-mania reached fever pitch during the soccer tournament.

Hordes of teenage girls waited hours for a glimpse of Beckham, while young men replicated his distinctive Mohawk haircut.

The statue plan is a bid by the mayor to cash in on this mania and draw attention to his remote island town.

The town is also considering changing the name of the Tsuna Soccer Stadium to England Football Field, Japan's Jiji Press says.



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