WHEN David Beckham sailed through his globally televised medical to complete his transfer to Real Madrid, he probably uttered a quiet word of thanks to a surgeon from Yorkshire.
It is a huge tribute to the work of consultant Doug Campbell that the star's broken scaphoid, which only recently dominated the last bout of Beckham-mania, was barely an issue as he cleared the final hurdle before his 25m move from Manchester United.
Without the advanced treatment provided by the hand surgeon, who is based at St James's Hospital in Leeds, the England captain would have been put through his paces with his right wrist still in plaster.
Last night, Mr Campbell confirmed he had treated the country's and probably the world's most famous footballer – although the details had to remain confidential.
Beckham was injured while playing for England against South Africa on May 22.
He said: "He (Beckham) chose a novel method.
"The early results have been extremely successful, all that we could wish for.
"We got him out of the plaster cast and he's been able to move his wrist freely at a very early stage.
"He's progressing very well and I would anticipate he will be ready for the pre-season tour."
Beckham turned to Mr Campbell in the immediate aftermath of the injury after consulting a surgeon who contacted several specialists in the South who all suggested the consultant from Leeds.
Mr Campbell was flown down to London from where he travelled to the footballer's luxury Hertfordshire house, dubbed Beckingham Palace, to meet his new patient.
Mr Campbell said: "He's an absolute gentleman.
"He's a very nice man, very softly spoken but very friendly.
"We didn't talk about his own personal situation because that wasn't of any interest at the time for what I needed to know to treat him. I didn't discuss any of his personal business.
"I was very flattered that the other consultants had all recommended me.
"It was a great honour to be involved with the chap and his treatment.
"I'm very proud for me and for the Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust I work for."
Although Mr Campbell could not comment on the details, the treatment did involve internal work on the scaphoid – a bone between the hand and wrist – which meant the footballer could dispense with the plaster cast within days rather than the eight weeks originally anticipated.
The consultant's special skills have also been of benefit closer to home through his involvement with Leeds United, whose goalkeeper Paul Robinson has received treatment.
Mr Campbell has also treated a host of other sportsmen, ranging from golfers to rugby league players.
Meanwhile, his treatment of the man who has become one of the best-known on the planet is due to continue.
Mr Campbell said: "I will be seeing him again to confirm everything is progressing satisfactorily.
"I'll be arranging to meet him in England within the next couple of weeks and will be keeping an eye on his wrist after that."