When it comes to his commitment to Major League Soccer, David Beckham is a little like the distracted guest we've all met at parties. They're happy to sit and talk, but they're always looking around in case someone more interesting comes along. It's with that split attention that the 34-year-old midfielder begins his third season in America: publicly committed to his five-year deal with the LA Galaxy but privately looking for an escape route. Arriving mid-campaign from his loan spell with AC Milan, it's easy to see why Beckham is copping abuse from the fans. But, infuriatingly, the world's richest footballer - a self-acclaimed ambassador who originally signed a contract worth a reported US$6.5 million a season - is acting as if he is the victim. With an eye on next year's World Cup, Beckham has cited his desire to keep playing for Fabio Capello's England as the motivation behind his long spell at AC Milan that saw him miss a chunk of the 2009 MLS season. But, according to biographer Grant Wahl - author of The Beckham Experiment, the ex-Manchester United favourite has long mentally checked-out. 'Citing patriotism and making Capello 'the bad guy' - to Galaxy fans, at least - obscures the fact that Beckham desperately wanted out of his five-year commitment to the Galaxy and MLS,' Wahl said. 'I think Beckham has grown extremely frustrated by losing more than he had in his career [the Galaxy tied for last place in MLS in 2008] and having to play with unskilled players on a team that was poorly put together, even by MLS standards.' The Beckham Experiment charts his American journey since moving from Real Madrid in 2007. The book paints the star as a sub-standard captain who brought unwelcome outside interference to the daily running of the Galaxy. Terry Byrne, Beckham's best friend and personal manager, was installed as a paid consultant, bizarrely stepping forward to address the bemused squad when Ruud Gullit became the richest coach in MLS history (US$6 million over three years) in November 2007. Byrne had been instrumental in recruiting Gullit but both he and the Dutchman were shown the door in August 2008, with the Galaxy in freefall. That, says Wahl, was when Beckham went lukewarm on American soccer, just 13 months into his stay. 'With the Galaxy on a 12-game winless streak, Beckham grew increasingly frustrated with his teammates and the referees, his fitness suffered and he started giving less than 100 per cent,' Wahl said. 'After his friend Byrne was pushed out, teammate Landon Donovan said Beckham 'flipped a switch' and wasn't going to do it anymore.' Beckham has back-tracked since his February comments about wanting to quit the Galaxy, saying now that he would come back to the MLS after another loan-spell in Europe from January 2010, leading up to June's World Cup. But there would have to be serious doubts about him lasting the distance. Despite (or, possibly, because of) Beckham's late arrival, the Galaxy are having a much-improved 2009 campaign, in the frame to make the play-offs for the first time in four seasons. But while Beckham's presence still generates considerable commercial revenue for the Galaxy, his desire to continue to be a part-timer - to further his personal ambitions - threatens to wreak havoc with the club's goals. 'Having him as a part-time player in 2009 and 2010 puts real strain on the Galaxy and prevents the team from improving as much as it could with a full-time player,' Wahl said. 'The next three months are important to show whether he can help the team win on the field for the first time since his arrival. But, so far, the soccer part of the Beckham Experiment has been an epic disaster.' The most laughable thing is Beckham's ongoing assertion that he's still an ambassador for the MLS, even though Serie A has seen far more of those trademark free-kicks in 2009. Beckham is now an even more recognisable figure in the US, with him and pop-star wife Victoria becoming regular fodder on showbiz TV shows. But it's doubtful that Becks has converted many 'celebrity consumers' into active soccer supporters, which, for him, might be just as well, given the Galaxy's much-documented shortcomings on the field. Most of us accept things can change quickly in professional sports. But rather than just being honest ('I didn't realise how poor the MLS is' or 'I thought my England days were behind me until Capello took over'), Beckham is still harping on about building up a league for which he's played only 32 games across three seasons. And the 'silly money' he's earning certainly doesn't help. Wahl concludes that Beckham stands up poorly alongside another football icon who once graced the North American. 'If he's comparing himself to Pel?in the 1970s with the Cosmos, Beckham comes up terribly short,' Wahl said. 'Pele brought millions of new fans to the sport. And Pele played well and won championships. Beckham is no Pele'