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Wednesday, 17 May, 2000, 11:00 GMT 12:00 UK
Injured Johnsen pulls out
Ronny Johnsen
Johnsen won't be playing for Norway this summer
Ronny Johnsen has pulled out of Norway's Euro 2000 squad after losing his battle to regain full fitness in time for the finals.

Norway coach Nils Johan Semb revealed the Manchester United defender made the decision himself after a season plagued by knee trouble.

Johnsen only recently returned to action after knee surgery, but admitted he isn't ready to stand up to the demands of a long tournament at this stage in his recovery.

His decision is sure to please Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson, who had urged Norway not to include the centre-half in their plans for Euro 2000.

Complete break

Johnsen helped United to an historic Champions League, Premiership and FA Cup treble last season and the club was worried about the implications for his future career if he played for his country when less than fully fit.

"Ronny needs a complete pre-season break behind him," Ferguson explained.

"If he came back from the European Championships injured with his knees, then he could have been finished. He can't afford that. He needs proper preparation to play football on a regular basis again."

"We have been putting him in for one match and then taking him out again. That's how he needs to build himself up again."

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See also:

14 May 00 | Norway
Norway form guide
04 May 00 | FA Carling Premiership
Man Utd linked with Flo
04 Apr 00 | Champions League
Man Utd hold out against Real
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