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Wayne Bridge withdraws from England selection

Wayne Bridge
Bridge's decision means he will not play at this summer's World Cup

Manchester City defender Wayne Bridge has announced he does not wish to be chosen for England duty, thereby ruling himself out of this summer's World Cup.

BBC Sport understands he is effectively retiring from the international scene.

In a statement released by his lawyers, Bridge, 29, said his position in the national squad had become "untenable and potentially divisive".

He has been in the spotlight over allegations that his ex-girlfriend had an affair with Chelsea's John Terry.

Terry was sacked as England captain by coach Fabio Capello earlier this month.

England face Egypt in a friendly at Wembley next Wednesday and despite reports earlier this week suggesting Bridge was considering his international future because he was unwilling to play alongside Terry, Capello believed he would be available for selection.

The Italian stated on Wednesday: "No, he will be with us. No problems about the other things."

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However, Bridge's statement has shown the left-back remains troubled with the situation and read: "I have thought long and hard about my position in the England football team in the light of the reporting and events over the last few weeks.

"It has always been an honour to play for England. However, after careful thought I believe my position in the squad is now untenable and potentially divisive.

"Sadly therefore, I feel for the sake of the team and in order to avoid what will be inevitable distractions, I have decided not to put myself forward for selection.

"I have today informed the management of this decision. I wish the team all the very best in South Africa."

With the World Cup less than four months away, Bridge's decision leaves Capello with a selection headache over England's left-back spot.

Chelsea's Ashley Cole is already sidelined with a broken ankle and is a doubt for the tournament.

England's opening match is against the United States on 12 June.

Aston Villa defenders Stephen Warnock and Nicky Shorey, Everton's Leighton Baines and Manchester City's Joleon Lescott are all possible replacements.

Bridge decision terrible for Capello - Farquhar

Bridge, who has played for England 36 times and recently returned from a two-month lay-off with a knee injury, was a team-mate of Terry's at Chelsea before joining Manchester City last year.

The pair are due to meet on the pitch for the first time since details of the alleged affair were made public when City visit Chelsea on Saturday.

Former England and Manchester City defender Danny Mills said it was unfair to make a hasty judgement on Bridge's decision and that such a scenario was not unusual in a World Cup year.

"Fortunately, it's all hypothetical and until we are faced with that situation we all like to say we would do this or do that but until we get down to having to make that decision, I don't think we can judge," he told BBC Radio 5 live.

"We have to respect Wayne and his decision. It's been difficult, it hasn't been easy but he's made that decision now and it's something everyone has to get on with.

"The country gets so excited when England are playing in a big tournament like the World Cup and that's always going to be the case.

"At club level you always have one or two injuries or issues but with the national squad it gets magnified. Every country will be the same, they will all have problems, it's just how you cope with them, how you deal with them."

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In the wake of Terry losing the captaincy and recent headlines concerning Ashley Cole's separation from wife Cheryl, Capello revealed he would stress the importance of team spirit and personal discipline when he talks to his players ahead of the friendly with Egypt.

"The World Cup is really important for me, for England and for the players," the Italian explained. "We have to stay together and compact in every moment. I think this will be my most important job - to recreate this spirit.

"We will talk about a lot of things because four months is a long time. If you can meet the players every month it is different. We will have two days to stay together but they are very strong days."



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see also
Terry & Bridge decline peace bid
25 Feb 10 |  Football
Bridge ready for Man City return
05 Feb 10 |  Man City
Capello warns squad over conduct
24 Feb 10 |  World Cup 2010
Capello strips Terry of captaincy
05 Feb 10 |  Football
England captain role 'overstated'
04 Feb 10 |  Football
Man City players support Bridge
31 Jan 10 |  Man City
FA refuses to comment over Terry
30 Jan 10 |  Football
Bridge seals transfer to Man City
03 Jan 09 |  Man City


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