Role model Beckham an inspiration for wing wonder Albrighton
Marc Albrighton would love to follow in the footsteps of "role model" David Beckham - on and off the pitch.
Beckham was afforded a boisterous standing ovation at the BBC Sports Personality of the Year show after being presented with a lifetime achievement award to recognise his enormous efforts in football.
Albrighton insists it was thoroughly deserved.
Villa's newest star believes Beckham was the most exciting winger of his generation - for his goals, his free-kicks and his classy crossing ability.
But it's not just Beckham's terrific talent that has impressed Albrighton.
The classy claret and blue midfield ace has also marvelled at the terrific work he now does away from the game.
He said: "I think the ovation he received was thoroughly deserved.
"Off the pitch and on the pitch, he's unbelievable. As a man and a player, he's an example. He is brilliant.
"As a role model he is fantastic. He rightly deserved the award and totally deserved the respect of his peers in the theatre on the night.
"He was someone I looked up to when I was a young lad growing up and watching football.
"When Manchester United were one of the teams in the live game, I always wanted him to be playing.
"As a winger, there was absolutely no better player to watch at the time. The way he crossed the ball and his set-piece deliveries were outstanding.
"They say he wasn't blessed with sensational pace but he proved you don't need it. Any winger trying to learn his trade in the game, you can't go far wrong from watching footage of him in his pomp.
"If I could cross half as well as he did, my team-mates at Villa would be very, very happy.
"Look at the things he does away from sport too. He went over to Afghanistan to see our soldiers out there. He doesn't have to do that. It isn't part of his job. But because of the man he is, he will give of his time and do those kinds of things.
"He is almost bigger than football. He is the most famous man in the country and possibly the biggest sports star in the world at the moment.
"Kids, young children, adults, they all look up to him because of what he did as a footballer first of all and now what he's doing away from the game.
"He was a star for England, Manchester United, Real Madrid and he was great to watch and now what he's doing is unbelievable.
"He's the perfect man at the moment. He's got a good image, he has his kids, his family, he has everything you'd want. He deserves everything for what he's done. No-one could argue he didn't work hard to get where he is today. He's earnt it."
David Pleat made the ultimate comparison in his Guardian newspaper column some weeks ago by comparing Albrighton with Beckham.
The popular TV pundit said: "Albrighton shows the bravery to go in where it hurts, the potential to score goals and exceptional crossing ability. He has the weapons to be a 10-goal-a-season winger and his crossing ability could emulate, and possibly exceed, that of David Beckham. He is an exciting talent."
Albrighton was humbled by the comparisons.
He added: "To hear something like that is unbelievable. I don't think it's possible to get a bigger compliment. To hear something like that makes me very proud."
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