Warnock eyes World Cup chance

Warnock eyes World Cup chance

Published Feb. 26, 2010 9:34 a.m. ET

Aston Villa defender Stephen Warnock believes a door may have been opened for him to earn an England World Cup call-up after Wayne Bridge's decision to quit international football for the foreseeable future.

Warnock has played only six minutes for his country as a late substitute in the away friendly with Trinidad and Tobago in June 2008.

His immediate focus is on the Carling Cup final with Manchester United at Wembley on Sunday with Villa looking to lift their first trophy for 14 years.

But Warnock has moved up Fabio Capello's pecking order with Ashley Cole's ankle injury and Bridge's decision to stand down from being selected for his country.


Asked if Bridge's stance put him a great position, Warnock said: "I don't know. That is the manager's decision at the end of the day, whom he picks and whom he thinks is right for the job.

"All I can do is concentrate on my form for Villa and hope that is enough to impress the manager.

"I was pushing for it anyway and always felt if my form was good enough, I could push Wayne Bridge as hard as I could.

"But, with the events that have unfolded, possibly it opens a door and you just never know what could happen.

"I have never made any secret of my ambition to play for my country again."

Warnock has been in excellent form for Villa since his £7million move from Blackburn in the summer and is relishing the clash with Sir Alex Ferguson's side.

He said: "The atmosphere in the camp is great. People are looking forward to going to the final.

"It is a great occasion for the club. When I was packing my bag and getting my suit ready, it really kicked in that we are going to Wembley.

"A lot of the family are coming to the game. I needed a few more tickets!

"I got a phone call off my brother-in-law on Thursday asking for a couple of extra tickets. Good timing a couple of days before the game. He's only had a month!"

Villa skipper Stiliyan Petrov is winning his battle to be fit for the final.

The Bulgaria international has been laid low with a virus in recent days and was forced to pull out of the midweek FA Cup fifth-round replay success over Crystal Palace at Villa Park.

But Petrov was given the all clear yesterday to resume training.

Petrov, who played for Celtic in the 2003 UEFA Cup final against Porto in Seville, said: "The virus is okay. It is better.

"I've been on antibiotics for the last three or four days and we are expecting every day for it to get better and better. I think it should be okay for Sunday."