Deano praise for All-Star Game

Dean Ashton believes Major League Soccer is ready to go from strength to strength with the Beckham factor a huge plus for the game in North America.

The West Ham United striker was speaking at the official pre-match media conference held at Toronto FC's BMO Field, the superb setting for this year's MLS All-Star Game featuring the best of the league's players on Thursday. Ashton, who will be up against his England team-mate Beckham, said: "Coming over here I was quite surprised at how big an event it is and the media surrounding it."

When asked if he felt the notion of an All-Star game was an idea that could catch on back in England given the rivalries between teams, he added: "I can't see why something like that can't be good over in England. I think it is a great event and we are definitely all looking forward to it. I don't see why not, it is a great concept - especially for all the fans to see all their best players together in one team. I don't see why not but whether it will happen is another matter."

"David Beckham coming over here has made the MLS a lot bigger in England so everyone is talking about it and younger players want to come over now. It is a great lifestyle and the football is getting better and better all the time. The feedback from all the players back to England is that it is an upcoming league and somewhere to be."

Of his international colleague, Ashton added: "David Beckham is huge all over the world. He has definitely lifted the profile of the MLS. A lot of people were surprised that he did come over here. They felt like he could still play part in European football but it has shown already that he has made a great decision. He has definitely helped the MLS and helped the profile in England as well."