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Last Updated: Saturday, 18 August 2007, 11:14 GMT 12:14 UK
McClaren gives Bentley assurance
David Bentley and England coach Steve McClaren
David Bentley will be on Saturday's Football Focus
1210 BST, BBC ONE and on the BBC Sport website

England coach Steve McClaren says Blackburn's David Bentley still has an international future.

McClaren left Bentley, 22, out of England's squad for the friendly against Germany after he withdrew from the European Under-21 championships.

"He's paying the consequences for his decision, but it doesn't stop him playing for England in the future, said McClaren who defended friendly matches.

"They've been a bone of contention, but our policy is that they'll be tough."

Bentley said he had expected to be punished for his decision, and McClaren praised the winger's attitude.

The England coach said: "I think his reaction has been very very good.

"I've said that to him, and I said we are looking for a reaction - a positive reaction - on and off the field."

606: DEBATE

Meanwhile, McClaren insisted that England friendlies would not be looked upon as meaningless affairs.

England played Brazil in June and take on Germany on Wednesday as he looks at his options ahead of two crucial Euro 2008 qualifiers in September.

McClaren told BBC Radio 5live: "I do think playing teams like Holland, Spain, Germany, not only inspires the fans but also the players want to play in these big games.

"That was proved in the Brazil game at Wembley, it was a fantastic occasion for the fans and the players.

"And the players actually gave a great performance and we need to take that on.

"England v Germany is always a big game. That should inspire the players and should inspire the fans."


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

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