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Dennis Wise
"I've really enjoyed this year"
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Thursday, 25 May, 2000, 18:39 GMT 19:39 UK
Ince and Wise play down England rivalry
Dennis Wise and Paul Ince
England midielders Dennis Wise and Paul Ince: best of mates on and off the pitch
Dennis Wise and Paul Ince have played down talk of a midfield rivalry ahead of England's game against Brazil on Saturday.

It has been widely predicted that the two old sparring-partners are battling over one central midfield spot in Kevin Keegan's team.

But Chelsea skipper Wise says he sees it simpler terms.

I will play anywhere - anyone would do that to play for their country

Dennis Wise
"It's about getting into the 22-man squad, not about being a rival to him," he said.

"We all want to be part of Euro 2000 and be involved in it. I will play anywhere - anyone here would do that to play for their country."

Ince also played down the competition in the England squad.

"At the moment we're just happy to be involved in the set-up," he said.

"Wisey's been absolutely fantastic this season and he deserves his chance and we've seen how well he plays. We're good friends and we get on really well.

"There's going to be times when Dennis will play and times when maybe I'll play with Dennis. People say it's me or him, but I don't see it that way."

England coach Kevin Keegan was keen to praise both men.

"Wise should have played more games for England than he has," he said.

"He was out of it for four years, and you wonder why when you see him. He has an awful lot of ability and skill.

Dennis Wise
Chelsea captain Dennis Wise says he'd play anywhere for England
"He's been the key player for Chelsea this season, and certainly the most consistent. That's why I picked him against Argentina.

Wise has just 14 caps to Ince's 48, even though he is 10 months his senior.

Both are back in the England set-up after prolonged absenses - Wise after four years, Ince 18 months after being sent off against Sweden at the start of England's Euro 2000 qualifying campaign.

Ince, as one of the survivors of England's campaign in Euro 96, saw reasons for optimism as the 2000 tournament approaches.

"It's hard to say that (the England team in Euro 96 was better, even though we did so well and were the best team in the tournament.

"All I know is we've got a lot of world class players here who are good enough to go to Belgium and Holland and do well for their country."

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See also:

25 May 00 | England
Keegan hails Macca Euro display
25 May 00 | Euro2000
Hoddle was wrong - Neville
24 May 00 | England
Cash boost for England stars
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