David Beckham was handed a surprise start for AC Milan's Serie A game at AS Roma on Sunday.
Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti said on Saturday that Beckham would almost certainly be on the bench but has opted to give the England international a start on the right of a midfield three.
The 33-year-old is beginning a two-month loan spell from Los Angeles Galaxy and although he played the first half of Tuesday's 1-1 friendly draw with Hamburg, he has not had a competitive game since the U.S. regular season ended in October.
"Beckham is ready to play even if he has been out of action for two months. But it is therefore difficult to give him a starting spot tomorrow in the match against Roma," Ancelotti had told a news conference on the eve of the match.
He did a volte-face on match day.
Beckham had one shot and put in a few crosses but often dropped deep, playing as a defensive midfielder at times.
The 33-year-old Englishman and his representatives have consistently said he will return to the Galaxy in early March for the new Major League Soccer (MLS) season. However, Ancelotti would be happy to keep him if the situation changed.
"He is ready to give an important contribution and we at Milan are happy he will be with us, if only for two months," Ancelotti added.
"If then he wants to stay with us, it would be great but the contract he has with Milan is clear and I believe he will respect it."
Roma's Mirko Vucinic and Milan's Alexandre Pato scored two goals apiece as the match at Stadio Olimpico ended in a 2-2 draw.