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Page last updated at 13:18 GMT, Friday, 12 February 2010

Wayne Bridge will play for England, says Mancini


Mancini expects Bridge to replace Cole

Wayne Bridge is ready to step in as England's left-back, according to his club manager Roberto Mancini.

Ashley Cole's broken ankle means he will be out for three months and could miss the World Cup, leaving Bridge as the most obvious replacement.

However, that would mean lining up with John Terry, who is alleged to have had an affair with Bridge's ex-girlfriend.

But Manchester City boss Mancini said: "He is committed to playing for England. If he is picked, he'll play."

Bridge has only just returned to action following a two-month lay-off with a knee injury, but he could replace Cole in the England team to face Egypt in a friendly on 3 March.

Cole will be fit for World Cup - Ancelotti

Mancini brushed aside suggestions that Bridge might think twice about playing alongside Terry, who was stripped of the England captaincy by coach Fabio Capello amid the media furore caused by allegations over his private life.

"He never told me that he wouldn't play for England," said the Italian.

"It is important for any player to play at the World Cup. It is important for their career, especially if they can play in the first XI."

Bridge, 29, has not indicated whether he has any problem playing alongside Terry, but former England and Chelsea left-back Graeme Le Saux believes they can function in the same team.

"The dynamics of dressing room are very much about having a professional attitude. You can't get on with everyone, but on the pitch you can give 100% for the team and each other," he told BBC Radio 5 live.

John Terry and Wayne Bridge in England training
Terry (left) and Bridge could line up together at the World Cup

"These are slightly different circumstances because it's so mixed up, so it is very important it gets dealt with quite quickly and in a professional way.

"I think it's going to take Wayne Bridge being the person that shows the biggest character because he's clearly the victim in this."

Danny Mills, another former England full-back, says Cole's injury could even force a quicker resolution.

"Maybe Terry, Bridge and Capello are going to have to sit down and work this relationship out sooner rather than later," he said.

"It's got to be worked on, but I'm sure it will sort itself out and both players will go to the World Cup."

Bridge has won 36 caps for England since making his debut against the Netherlands in 2002.

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see also
England's tale of World Cup injury woe
12 Feb 10 |  Football
World Cup doubt over Ashley Cole
13 Feb 10 |  Chelsea
Terry given time off by Chelsea
11 Feb 10 |  Chelsea
Everton 2-1 Chelsea
10 Feb 10 |  Premier League
Win ends difficult week - Drogba
08 Feb 10 |  Premier League
Capello strips Terry of captaincy
05 Feb 10 |  Football
Ancelotti amenable to Terry leave
02 Feb 10 |  Chelsea

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