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Page last updated at 17:22 GMT, Thursday, 25 February 2010

John Terry & Wayne Bridge reject PFA-brokered peace bid

Wayne Bridge
Bridge and England boss Capello should talk, says Keown

Former England team-mates John Terry and Wayne Bridge have both declined an offer of mediation from the Professional Footballers' Association.

Manchester City's Bridge, 29, is retiring from international football following allegations his ex-girlfriend had an affair with Chelsea's Terry.

PFA boss Gordon Taylor said he was "surprised and saddened" by Bridge's decision to forgo a World Cup chance.

Bridge and Terry will come face-to-face on Saturday when City visit Chelsea.

Bridge opted to make himself unavailable for Fabio Capello's England side via a statement issued by the left-back's lawyers on Thursday.

Taylor then stressed he had tried to mend the rift between the former Chelsea team-mates, which has developed after an alleged affair involving former England captain Terry and model Vanessa Perroncel, the mother of Bridge's child.

BBC Sport's Phil McNulty

PFA chief executive Taylor said: "We offered to help and contacted both parties with a view to acting as mediators, but neither came back to us.

"You have to respect Wayne's decision, and his wishes, but it is sad that it has come to this. I would have hoped that things could have been patched up for the sake of the professional careers of both Wayne and John Terry, as well as the England team."

The pair are likely to face each other on the pitch for the first time since the affair allegations hit the news when fifth-placed City visit leaders Chelsea in the Premier League on Saturday.

City goalkeeper Shay Given insists Bridge is mentally prepared for the clash.

"He is fine, Wayne Bridge is totally fine and he is looking forward to the game on Saturday and hopefully getting a good result for Manchester City - that's the most important thing.

"It's a massive game for everyone at the club, including Wayne," the Republic of Ireland international added.

Asked if he was surprised by his team-mate's decision to quit England, former Newcastle star Given said: "It's a personal thing for Wayne and a private one and I don't really want to comment on that situation."

Meanwhile, former England defender Martin Keown said Bridge had been forced into prematurely ruling himself out of this summer's big tournament in South Africa.

He told BBC Radio 5 live: "It's far too early for him to be jumping away from the World Cup. I feel Bridge is being pressurised into a decision."

Keown sympathised with Bridge's predicament, and called on England manager Fabio Capello to try to broker a truce - especially with England's first-choice left-back Ashley Cole currently injured and Bridge the obvious deputy.

Ex-Arsenal centre-back Keown said Bridge should have been allowed to skip the friendly against Egypt next Wednesday in order to think further about his World Cup intentions.

Warnock hopeful of England call-up

"They made a sacrifice with John Terry very publicly losing his position and they would have wanted an indication from [Bridge] that he wanted to be part of it," he said.

"Ashley Cole has got a lot of trauma of his own with his injury and will he be fit for the World Cup? All of a sudden Wayne Bridge decides he won't make himself available.

"There's a professional aspect here because Wayne should have an overriding ambition to win the World Cup. To jump away from that is farcical really.

"I think it's the pressure of a culmination of things. He and John Terry meet each other at the weekend [when Chelsea play City], and there's the pressure of being named in the Egypt squad, but for me he's made the decision too soon.

"Capello should have said 'forget this squad [for Egypt] but I'm going to bring you [and Terry] together some time nearer to the World Cup and let's chat it through professionally'.

"We are very exposed defensively. There's no Glen Johnson, Terry is dealing with this scandal, and Rio Ferdinand has a back injury. We're decimated."

Keown added that he felt Bridge was "clearly not getting any counselling" and felt "exposed".


But Keown's former Gunners team-mate Nigel Winterburn said it was hard for an outsider to condemn Bridge's actions and said people should not rush to criticise him.

Winterburn said: "I don't know whether Wayne Bridge feels he doesn't want to be anywhere near John Terry at the moment. That's a very difficult position to be in.

"Also the media scrum that is going to happen on Saturday would then come again on 3 March against Egypt and maybe that's too much. I am absolutely amazed and shocked that he isn't going to the World Cup."

Meanwhile, Aston Villa's Stephen Warnock, a possible starter against Egypt as Capello shapes a makeshift back four for Egypt, has spotted an opportunity. The 28-year-old plays in the same left-back position that is temporarily vacant with both Cole and Bridge becoming unavailable.

Warnock said: "I thought I was pushing hard anyway but with what has happened maybe it has opened a door. Ideally it would be great to win the Carling Cup [in Sunday's final against Manchester United] and get called up for the Egypt game but let's wait and see."

Warnock made his England debut against Trinidad & Tobago on 1 June 2008, coming on as a substitute for Bridge in the 84th minute. It remains his only international appearance.

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see also
Bridge turns back on England team
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
Bridge seals transfer to Man City
03 Jan 09 |  Man City

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