When England played their last international game at Wembley against Germany in October 2000 before it was closed for redevelopment work, it had been anticipated that the Three Lions would return to their home three years later.
However, a series of financial and legal disputes meant that England toured around the country to play their home encounters for some seven years, before they eventually returned to their modernised facility.
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International heavyweights and five-time World Cup winners Brazil were the first opponents to visit the new Wembley eight years ago today, but it wasn't the two sides that were on show, nor the fresh surroundings that had dominated the headlines heading into the encounter.
But, the former captain's form towards the end of the 2006-07 La Liga season for Real Madrid proved impossible to ignore for McClaren, who recalled the midfielder. It meant that much of the focus, just as it was throughout his entire career, was on the former Manchester United player.
He didn't disappoint, either, with an impressive display, capped off by him setting up England's first goal at the new ground.
The past locked arms with the present as a trademark cross from the ex-skipper picked out current captain John Terry, who rose highest at the back post to send a downward header beyond Helton in the visiting goal with 68 minutes played.
Yet, there was to be no fairytale return to Wembley for Beckham and England as they were pegged back deep into stoppage time.
Speaking after the final whistle, Beckham said of his first England outing in 11 months: "It is always nice to have the support of the fans. I'm not sure if I knew I'd ever get this moment again but I'm happy to be part of a historic night.
"I always felt I had to play for my place, not just this week. I always believed in whichever team I have been in, wherever I have been I have had to fight for my place and I've always done that for England. I felt relaxed all week and it is nice to be back with the team."
As for the man that had exiled him - McClaren - he added: "I brought Beckham back because he was playing well. When he's playing well, there is no better right-sided player in the world. He showed that tonight."
ENGLAND: Robinson; Carragher, King, Terry (Brown), Shorey; Beckham (Jenas), Gerrard, Lampard (Carrick), Cole (Downing), Smith (Dyer); Owen (Crouch)
BRAZIL: Helton; Daniel (Maicon), Naldo, Juan, Gilberto; Ronaldinho, Mineiro (Edmilson), Gilberto Silva, Kaka (Alves), Robinho (Diego); Vagner Love