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Last Updated: Friday, 17 August 2007, 11:28 GMT 12:28 UK
Bentley defends England pull-out
David Bentley
David Bentley will be on Saturday's Football Focus
1210 BST, BBC ONE and on the BBC Sport website

Blackburn forward David Bentley says he does not regret withdrawing from England's Under-21 side even though it has cost him a senior call-up.

Bentley withdrew from the squad for the summer's Uefa U21 championships citing fatigue and as a result will not be in the squad to face Germany on 22 August.

"I knew there would be consequences to my decision in the summer," Bentley, 22, told BBC Radio Lancashire.

"I made it to hopefully further my England career rather than shorten it."

Bentley was informed of the decision by coach Steve McClaren ahead of the squad announcement, and the player said he admired the way McClaren had handled the situation.

"I really respect and like that from a manager," he said.

As far as I am concerned, that is the end of the matter

England coach Steve McClaren

"It shows the character he is and it makes me want to keep performing and play for him."

Despite paying the short-term cost for his decision, Bentley said he felt missing the U21 tournament would pay long-term dividends for his career, and he hoped to show that with his performances throughout the season.

"Hopefully with what happened in the summer, I can grow as a player and as a person," he said.

"I believe it was the right decision for me, but the wrong decision for the team.

"I didn't want to let anyone down - I had to think of my own career. For me it was the right decision, and hopefully come the end of the season I can prove that."

Blackburn boss Mark Hughes said Bentley must put the England snub behind him and concentrate on getting into McClaren's next squad.

606: DEBATE

"We are not going to make any apologies for the decision made by ourselves and David because we are convinced it was the right decision," said Hughes.

"McClaren has spoken to the boy and he had said the Under-21 thing was part of it, there was a price to pay and he said David's paid it this time.

"David has just got to concentrate on what he does here and if he plays well enough I'm sure he will get opportunities at international level."

McClaren has reassured Bentley his exclusion from the squad is only for one game.

"I spoke to David today and made it clear that I was disappointed with his decision not to travel to the Under-21 tournament with his team-mates," said McClaren.

"That is why he was left out of the squad for the Germany game. But as far as I am concerned, that is the end of the matter.

"It is up to David now to work hard to be included for the future qualifying matches.

"I have told him I will be keeping a close eye on his form before naming the squads for the autumn fixtures."


David Bentley will be on Saturday's Football Focus, 1210 BST, on BBC One and the BBC Sport website

SEE ALSO
England will not turn to Bentley
17 Aug 07 |  Internationals
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13 Aug 07 |  Internationals
McClaren fails in Carragher bid
15 Aug 07 |  Internationals
Beckham upbeat on England chance
14 Aug 07 |  Football
Owen gives England fitness boost
14 Aug 07 |  Internationals
Rooney to miss England qualifiers
13 Aug 07 |  Internationals
Bentley responds to U21 criticism
09 Jun 07 |  Internationals
Bentley withdrawal angers Pearce
08 Jun 07 |  Internationals


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