Capello refusing to give up on Bridge

BY foxsports • February 25, 2010

Fabio Capello is refusing to close the door on Wayne Bridge's World Cup dream.

Bridge has confirmed that he would not be available for selection for this summer's tournament, claiming his position in the England squad was now "untenable".

The Manchester City defender's decision related to the affair between his former Chelsea team-mate John Terry and Vanessa Perroncel, the mother of his young son.

Bridge cannot contemplate sharing a dressing room with Terry, who is such an integral figure in Capello's squad, even though he has been stripped of the captaincy following his much-publicised indiscretions.

However, Capello will try to talk the defender round before he selects his 23-man squad for this summer's extravaganza.

"I was flying back from Milan when Wayne Bridge announced that he would not be with us for the Egypt match and also in South Africa for the World Cup," said Capello.

"It surprised me, but I respect the decision of all the players.

"But the door is always open for him.

"We have time, there is still three months until I will decide my final squad for South Africa.

"I hope that Wayne Bridge will be with us at the World Cup, but I respect his decision."

On Tuesday in South Africa, Capello expressed confidence that Bridge would be involved against Egypt at Wembley next Wednesday, and would almost certainly play given first-choice left-back Ashley Cole has been ruled out for three months with a broken ankle.

That theory was backed up around the same time in England by Stuart Pearce, a valued member of Capello's coaching team, who claimed Bridge and Terry would set any personal differences aside in the national cause.

Yet, as the time for Capello to announce his latest squad approached, so Bridge's mind has become more focused.

By a strange twist of fate, Bridge is due to meet Terry on a football pitch for the first time since news of the affair became public when Manchester City visit Chelsea on Saturday.

This meeting takes place hours before Capello names that Egypt squad yet there were claims Bridge could not even bear to shake Terry's hand during the traditional pre-match greeting.

Under those circumstances, it was difficult to understand how Bridge could reach any other conclusion than to withdraw, even though it was the scenario Capello was desperate to avoid when he stripped Terry of the captaincy.

By taking such a ruthless step, Capello hoped he could provide proof with tangible evidence that he has taken Terry's indiscretions seriously, while retaining the harmony that is going to be required at the World Cup this summer.

"I have thought long and hard about my position in the England football team in the light of the reporting and events over the last few weeks," said Bridge.

"It has always been an honour to play for England.

"However, after careful thought, I believe my position in the squad is now untenable and potentially divisive.

"Sadly, for the sake of the team and what would be inevitable distractions, I have decided not to put myself forward for selection. I have today informed the management of this decision.

"I wish the team all the best in South Africa."

Stephen Warnock and Leighton Baines are likely to be drafted into Capello's squad for the Egypt game, with fingers now firmly crossed for Cole's recovery.

Compared to Bridge's bombshell, confirmation from Sir Alex Ferguson of Rio Ferdinand's absence from next week's encounter with the African Nations Cup winners creates barely a ripple of interest.

Capello knows he can only take Ferguson on trust when he says the 31-year-old will only be sidelined for a couple of weeks with his latest problem.

Similar statements were made when Ferdinand was forced out of the United line-up in October and it was mid-January before he was fit enough for a recall.

What was once England's strong, world-class central defensive rock is now shaking at the foundations. And if Cole happens to fall as well, there will be no Bridge to aid the rescue.

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