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Last Updated: Wednesday, 3 May 2006, 23:03 GMT 00:03 UK
Hejduk injury forces US to change

Bruce Arena
Arena led USA to the quarter-finals four years ago
USA coach Bruce Arena has been forced to make a change to his World Cup squad just a day after announcing his 23-man group for Germany.

Los Angeles Galaxy defender Chris Albright has been drafted in to replace experienced Frankie Hejduk.

Columbus Crew defender Hejduk, 31, tore knee ligaments ruling him out of what would have been his third World Cup.

Arena said: "I deeply regret having to replace Frankie, but I'm delighted to offer Chris the opportunity."

Albright has made 19 appearances for the US national team, scoring one goal in a 2-2 draw with Jamaica in 1999.

He started all six US matches at the 2000 Sydney Olympic games and won MLS titles with the Galaxy in 2002 and 2005.

Arena, the longest-serving manager of any in this summer's tournament in Germany, has picked a blend of domestic and European-based players.

Captain Claudio Reyna, who will be going to his fourth World Cup, is one of seven English-based players chosen.

That list includes Manchester United keeper Tim Howard and two players from Premiership new-boys Reading, Marcus Hahnemann and Bobby Convey.

Arena believes the experience of his squad could prove beneficial, and singled out Manchester City's fit-again Reyna for special mention.

"I feel very good about this group of players," Arena said. "It's a group that will challenge anybody on the field in this World Cup.

On paper I like this team better than the one in 2002
Bruce Arena

"We have 12 players returning with World Cup experience, so I think we have fantastic leadership.

"Claudio now positions himself, as well as Kasey Keller, as one of the few players in the history of our sport to be involved in four World Cups.

"I expect Claudio's leadership qualities and his experience to be invaluable. Besides that he's an exceptional player and we need Claudio to be on top of his game.

"So, those are the expectations of Claudio - to be our leader and to be one of our best players."

Arena has guided the USA - who are playing in their fifth successive World Cup finals - into fourth place in Fifa's world rankings.

23 May: v Morocco
26 May: v Venezuela
26 May: v Latvia

The squad will have a two-week training camp followed by three friendlies on home soil before heading to Germany on 1 June.

The camp will allow players from European clubs, who have just finished a full season, to blend with US-based colleagues from Major League Soccer, who began their season only a month ago.

Goalkeepers: Kasey Keller (Borussia Moenchengladbach, Germany), Tim Howard (Manchester United, England), Marcus Hahnemann (Reading, England).

Defenders: Carlos Bocanegra (Fulham, England), Steve Cherundolo (Hannover 96, Germany), Jimmy Conrad (Kansas City Wizards), Cory Gibbs (ADO Den Haag, Holland), Chris Albright (LA Galaxy), Eddie Lewis (Leeds Utd, England), Oguchi Onyewu (Standard Liege, Belgium), Eddie Pope (Real Salt Lake).

Midfielders: DaMarcus Beasley (PSV Eindhoven, Holland), Bobby Convey (Reading, England), Clint Dempsey (New England Revolution), Landon Donovan (Los Angeles Galaxy), Pablo Mastroeni (Colorado Rapids), John O'Brien (Chivas USA), Ben Olsen (DC United), Claudio Reyna (Manchester City, England).

Forwards: Eddie Johnson (Kansas City Wizards), Brian McBride (Fulham, England), Brian Ching (Houston Dynamo), Josh Wolff (Kansas City Wizards)

USA team guide
27 Apr 06 |  USA
World Cup fixtures
09 Dec 05 |  Schedule
Have your say on the World Cup
28 Apr 06 |  Football
BBC World Cup coverage
27 Apr 06 |  BBC coverage

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