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Tuesday, 6 November, 2001, 21:26 GMT
McManaman 'chose not to play'
Steve McManaman has been left out of England's squad
Steve McManaman faces an uncertain England future
Real Madrid have revealed that it was Steve McManaman himself who asked to be left out of England's squad to face Sweden.

There has been much conjecture as to why McManaman was not part of the squad with some suggestions that he was actually dropped by Sven-Goran Eriksson.

Originally it was thought that McManaman had been left out for the Old Trafford friendly on the request of his club Real Madrid who have a league game against Real Zaragoza.

But Real's sporting director Emilio Butragueno said it was McManaman's choice.

Real Madrid have a very good relationship with the English FA
Emilio Butragueno
Real Madrid sporting director
"Real Madrid did not impose themselves, phone, or ask the English FA for Steve McManaman not to be in the England side.

"It was the player who phoned the English FA and they decided to be understanding.

"Real Madrid have a very good relationship with all the national federations, in particular with the English FA, and also with England coach Sven Goran Eriksson."

By opting out of the game, McManaman is missing out on the chance to play himself into the England reckoning.

McManaman has been a bitter disappointment in recent England games, particularly in a dismal appearance as substitute against Albania at Newcastle.

Darren Anderton has been recalled by coach Sven-Goran Eriksson, and could emerge as a serious rival for McManaman's place in the World Cup squad if he impresses.

Sven-Goran Eriksson has decided England can do without Steve McManaman
Eriksson has other options
McManaman was labelled as the major influence behind Real Madrid's win over Barcelona at the weekend, eclipsing the influence of Luis Figo and Zinedine Zidane.

But he has struggled with England - a problem he admits mystifies him.

He said: "God knows why it is different when I play for Real and England. I suppose it's that I play with my team-mates week in and week out.

"The last time I started a match for England was away at Albania and I came off with an injury. Since then I've been sub every game.

"When you go into a game knowing you are going to be sub, it's difficult. I don't really expect to be playing."

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