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Last Updated: Sunday, 21 August 2005, 12:10 GMT 13:10 UK
Hughes backing for boss Sanchez
Aaron Hughes is NI skipper
Aaron Hughes says the NI players are behind Lawrie Sanchez
Northern Ireland captain Aaron Hughes says manager Lawrie Sanchez has the full support of his players.

Hughes was speaking after the embarrassing 1-1 draw in Malta and George McCartney's decision not to play for NI while Sanchez was in charge.

"I want to put an end to all this talk of players not wanting to play for Sanchez - it is simply not true," Hughes told the Sunday Life.

"Talk of other players being ready to quit is wide of the mark."

Sunderland full-back McCartney revealed to BBC Sport his desire not to play for Sanchez on the eve of Wednesday's friendly against Malta.

"I can't say too much about what happened with George McCartney because I do not know the full story and it is none of my business anyway," added Aston Villa defender Hughes.

"I am sure it would have been easy to get out of the Malta trip as it was a friendly match but everyone wanted to be there."

N Ireland assistant boss Gerry Armstrong has also dismissed suggestions of a rift between the players and Sanchez.

"It was inevitable rumours would start after George McCartney declared he no longer wanted to play but there is no truth in them," he said.

"We know the score and that is good enough. Lawrie has the full backing of everybody and will be in charge for the foreseeable future."

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