Defender Wes Brown and goalkeeper Paul Robinson retired from
England duty on Sunday just a day after being recalled to the
squad, disrupting Fabio Capello’s plans for Wednesday’s friendly
The under-fire coach plans to use the match to usher in a new
era following England’s woeful World Cup campaign, pointedly
dropping 13 of the 23 players that went to South Africa and lost in
the second round to Germany.
After missing out on the tournament, Robinson and Brown – both
30 – had been brought back into the fold less than a month before
qualifying begins for the 2012 European Championship.
A chaotic day for Capello began when Robinson, who was England’s
No. 1 at the 2006 World Cup, announced that he did not want to be
behind Joe Hart and Ben Foster in the pecking order.
”Only now have I been able to make this decision as previously
I haven’t been in contention for selection,” Robinson said. ”As a
professional who wants to play every time I have the chance I don’t
see myself as a No. 3 or 4 keeper and find that role very
frustrating. … I feel it in the best interest of myself and my
club Blackburn Rovers that I concentrate solely on my club
Robinson’s mistakes during the failed qualifying campaign for
Euro 2008 cost him a place in the team. The last of his 41 England
appearances was in a 2-1 defeat to Russia in October 2007.
But he was recalled on Saturday night after Capello decided to
drop 40-year-old David James and Robert Green, whose blunder in the
World Cup opener gifted the United States an equalizer.
Having heard Robinson’s announcement in the morning, Brown – who
didn’t feature in Manchester United’s team in Sunday’s Community
Shield at Wembley Stadium – in the evening went to tell Capello he
also no longer wanted to play for his country.
Brown, whose England debut was against Wednesday’s opponents
Hungary in 1999, made the last of his 23 appearances against Egypt
”After a lot of thought and with a very heavy heart, I have
decided the time is right for me to retire from international
football,” Brown said. ”At the age of 30 I feel it is right for
me to stand aside and let younger players come through, which
allows me to concentrate on my club career.
”I regard it as an honor and a privilege to have represented my
country at every level from under-15s upwards. I have always been
very proud to play for England and wish them well in future
There was confusion on Sunday over Capello’s decision to drop
Manchester United midfielder Michael Carrick from the squad, which
now only has 21 players after Brown and Robinson withdrew.
While United manager Alex Ferguson had ruled Carrick out of the
match on Friday, the player trained on Saturday in a public session
and featured in the Community Shield victory over Chelsea.
And as Carrick went to collect his medal in the royal box,
Capello appeared to gesture that he thought the player was injured
and made a phone sign with his right hand.
Just beforehand, defender Ashley Cole was seen ignoring
Capello’s outstretched arm offering a handshake as he went up with
his Chelsea teammates, although he appeared to be looking at the
British media suggested the left back ”blanked” and