David Beckham encourages his children to ''work hard''.

The retired soccer star - who has Brooklyn, 20, Romeo, 17, Cruz, 14, and Harper, eight, with wife Victoria Beckham - has opened up about fatherhood and how he wants his brood to put their ''focus'' into the things that matter and will benefit them in the future.

He told GQ magazine: ''To work hard, simple as that.

''I tell the kids they have to make choices, sometimes give things up.

''If your friends are going out on a Friday night, maybe you can't.

''Maybe you've got tennis practice the next day or you're in the studio singing, like Cruz, or you've got a shoot, like Brooklyn. That's where your focus needs to be.''

The 44-year-old sports icon - who has also become a fashion icon along with his fashion designer wife - admitted that becoming a top football player was his only passion growing up.

He said: ''To be honest, all I ever wanted was to be successful as a footballer.''

David feels it's ''more acceptable'' for him to be on the cover of magazines and do brand work now than it was during his time on the pitch.

He added: ''Obviously, I always did things outside of the game and outside of my footballing career that were slightly different at the time.

''I think it's more acceptable now to do some of the things that I did, some of the covers, some of the photo shoots, some of the sponsorships, but I think my focus back then was to just win trophies, be successful with Manchester United and never leave United.

''Anything outside of the game was just a bonus.''

Meanwhile, it turns out the Beckham kids didn't want to let their father down when they decided they didn't want to follow in his footsteps.

Victoria, 45, recently revealed that all three sons were so worried about letting their dad down when they realised they weren't going to be footballers.

She admitted: ''All three boys used to have contracts with Arsenal. Brooklyn was the first to say he didn't want to play any more. And then Romeo decided he didn't want to do it either.

''I remember Romeo sitting in the bath getting really upset saying, 'I don't want to let Daddy down'. So I told him daddy just wants you to be happy. And now he's playing tennis. Every day.''