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Capello will shrug off Bridge decision

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Phil McNulty | 11:53 UK time, Thursday, 25 February 2010

Wayne Bridge is no great loss to England, so expect coach Fabio Capello to have moved on to other business seconds after learning that Manchester City's defender had removed his "potentially divisive" presence from his squad.

For those who have been holidaying on Pluto for the past month, John Terry was sacked as England captain amid allegations he had a relationship with Bridge's former partner.

The naming of Capello's squad to face Egypt at Wembley next Wednesday was always going to be the tipping point as to whether Terry and Bridge could forge a purely professional bond.

Bridge has decided, in a statement released through his lawyers and in which he also effectively rules himself out of the World Cup, that this is impossible.

The perfect scenario for Capello, who was preparing to pick Bridge and more than likely play him alongside Terry against Egypt, would have been for the pair to put differences aside during their time with England and for his World Cup plans to continue interrupted.

bridgeterry595.jpgWayne Bridge and John Terry were team-mates for both club and country

Many feel Bridge should have been able to do this and has let England down - but human nature is not like that and no-one should pass judgement on him in this very personal matter. Bridge alone has the right to make this call - and he has done so.

It is sad that Bridge has made this decision and there will be a body of opinion that suggests he should not have had to. He has made the decision now, though, and Capello and England must move forward without a backward glance towards Bridge. Brutal but a fact.

The dilemma left behind for Capello is that the Bridge problem will not be wholly removed simply by his absence. Bridge's belief that he would have been divisive suggests there may be factions in the England camp as a result of the allegations that have been made in recent weeks.

And former captain Terry will still be in the squad and seen as the figure who has directly caused the divisions Bridge was so keen to avoid. The spotlight would have been on the deposed captain in any event at Wembley - Bridge's decision to sacrifice his international career will only make it more intense.

This is the part Capello will not like and could have done without. He will not like the distraction, swirl of gossip and debate that is now likely to overshadow a game he hoped would be another important staging post on the journey he hopes will take England to World Cup glory in South Africa.

Capello will not like having to deal with what he will regard as a sideshow - but deal with it he will in the ruthless and single-minded fashion that has become his trademark. Anyone doubting this need only recall him dragging Terry from Chelsea's training ground at Cobham to Wembley for a 12-minute meeting that ended with the Chelsea defender a former England captain.

Capello will no doubt make his squad aware there can be no divisions or distractions, and anyone unable to fall in line with these orders will be shown the location of the door.

Of greater concern to Capello is how he will deal with the footballing fall-out from Bridge's decision to go into self-imposed England exile. And, although this is all very sad for Bridge, Capello has options to more than cover his absence and he will not be hugely missed, if at all.

England's left-back position is complicated by the loss of Ashley Cole, one of their few truly world-class players, to injury, although Capello hopes he will recover from a broken ankle in time for the finals in South Africa.

Bridge was arguably the next cab off the rank but was no guarantee. He has been mixed at best at Manchester City and has never been of proven international class. He has been coming under increased pressure for his place as Cole's understudy.

And now two names come to the fore as real possibles to take the place on the plane to South Africa that has been vacated by Bridge.

Everton's Leighton Baines was included in an England squad last season, and a spell of outstanding form had Toffees manager David Moyes labelling him as the club's most consistent player this season.

Merseysider Baines is a low-key, modest personality but is reliable in defence and ambitious going forward. There have been question marks about his lack of stature but stellar performances in wins against Chelsea and Manchester United recently have burnished his reputation.

Leighton Baines in action against Manchester UnitedLeighton Baines has made claims for an England call-up with his form for Everton

He is at least the equal, if not better, than Bridge and England's circumstances would not be reduced by his inclusion.

The other name in the frame will be Aston Villa's Stephen Warnock, who flourished at Blackburn after leaving Liverpool and has progressed even further under Martin O'Neill.

The 28-year-old Ormskirk-born full-back has had injury problems in recent weeks but is now nearing full fitness again and is another prime contender to challenge for the slot left behind by Bridge.

A modest personality like Baines, he has the assets both in defence and attack to cover for Cole at a major tournament and Capello at least has the chance to sift through all his options now that Bridge has declared his hand.

There has even been a growing lobby for Capello to use Aston Villa's James Milner as an auxiliary left-back - although he may have a crucial role to play further forward in South Africa if he maintains his current form.

And Arsenal's very gifted youngster Kieran Gibbs could have played his way into contention had he not been cut down by Standard Liege's Eliaquim Manga in the dying seconds of their Champions League game in January and been ruled out for the rest of the season with a broken bone in a foot.

Baines and Warnock are established specialists and present Capello with two talents and temperaments that are tried and trusted at Premier League level. They deserve the chance that has now arisen.

Bridge's situation will elicit sympathy, but it is unlikely too much of it will be on offer from Capello and his thoughts will have moved on almost instantly.

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Page 1 of 5

  • Comment number 1.

    Surely is Bridge's own private decision, and everyone should respect that regardless? Football is looking more and more like Big Brother.

  • Comment number 2.

    If only gibbs wasn't injured... very gifted player

    However I think Capello can still consinder playing Lescott there, maybe even Upson..

    I would though agree with you and play Baines..

  • Comment number 3.

    this is the worst blog since your prediction of a liverpool league title!

    of course capello is going to be bothered about losing bridge - he's widely considered the 2nd best left back we have and although baines or warnock may be ok, they've not got the international experience - and that's what counts once you get to the sharp end of the world cup.

    john terry should have done the honourable thing and stepped down from england until after the world cup. on top of what he did, he's now robbed bridge of his best chance to play at the tournament. we've far more options in the middle for replacing him - lescott, wes brown (who played to a champions league final with rio there), even sol campbell or carragher if we're desperate and he reconsiders.

    cant see england making even the QF. no keeper of note, defense ravaged by injury and off the field antics, gerrard anonymous this season, walcott having a shocker, barry looking half the player he was at villa and a choice between heskey, 10-chances-to-score-1-andy-cole-mark-2 defoe, crouch or never played at the highest level carlton cole as a backup to rooney. not to mention our key left midfield hope cant get a game for chelsea and our options on the right consisting of grandad beckham or 2 players in SWP and lennon who have no end product.

    i'd like to se cappelo give paul scholes a ring - surely 'extending your career at united' isnt an issue anymore given his career is all but over. would certainly give us another option on the bench. and we took fowler to the 2002 world cup...why not take owen?

  • Comment number 4.

    It's sad that people can even think about having a go at Bridge, as you say Phil, it's a very personal issue he's dealing with. The choice of title for the article on the BBC web-site could have been chosen better "Bridge turns his back", that implies he's somehow letting the country down.....well someone did, but not him.

    The vacant left back position goes to Warnock (imho), I never understood why Liverpool let him go, none of those who have tried to replace him have been as good, and i agree MON has got him playing at the top of his game

  • Comment number 5.

    You have to feel for Bridge. If this whole incident had been the other way round (i.e alledged indiscretions between Bridge and Mrs Terry) Capello wouldn't have hesitated to oust Wayne from the England squad forever.

  • Comment number 6.

    I made a thread about this earlier. Baines has to be first choice due to warnocks injury. I just hope he gets his chance to shine. He is a quality player, and im confident will get the job done.

  • Comment number 7.

    As a City fan I'd much prefer Baines than Bridge or Warnock ,Bridge just hasn't quite proved himself at Eastlands for me ,though he has to be fair had a lot of interruptions.

  • Comment number 8.

    I know Barry is seen as a midfield lynchpin at the moment but is he really brilliant enough not to be replaced by other players at defensive midfield? If not then surely Barry would be a great player to have at left back? He has scored scome fantastic goals for Villa pressing forward from left back and can definitely cross. Ultimately though his pace may let him down but I believe he is still an option at least worth discussing. Especially if you are going to mention Milner.

  • Comment number 9.

    If we're picking the England team on form, Bridge shouldn't have been anywhere near it. He was always second best at Chelsea, and looks no better now he's at City.

    I'm pleased he's decided to "make himself unavailable", as it means better players will get a chance to make a name for themselves.

  • Comment number 10.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 11.

    I prefer Baines and Warnock over him. at the end of the day, Terry is the one that should be making that statement today, not Bridge but just goes to show what a flawed captain material Terry really is. Terry shouldn't be playing for England at the World Cup, regardless of how good he is as a player, as you just don't do what he did to a team mate, made even worse that he is the captain as well.

  • Comment number 12.

    I think Lescott at left back will be better for the defence if Capello goes with Glen Johnson at right back. I think England will suffer if they play with two offensive full backs in the world cup (A.Cole and G.Johnson). Having Terry, Rio (If Fit) and Lescott as three of the back four is vital for england to keeping clean sheets.

  • Comment number 13.

    Bridge is a big loss for England, even in Man City haven't, he has hit some form in the last few weeks. Big dissapointment and hopefully Lescott can play there, I'm not sure Baines is England-quality.

  • Comment number 14.

    It still puzzles me that the english media, for which their back pages are mostly dedicated to this most beatiful of sports, decide that they want to throw a spanner in the works before a major tornament? What does this acheive? What did they think would happen? Why are Terry's infidelities even news worthy?
    As for the problem at left back I agree, Cole (an idiot yes and annoyingly a world class footballer) should be first choice, if fit. But Baines and Warnock are solid performers and should get the nod above Lescot as deputies for the left back position.

  • Comment number 15.

    Great article. Too much emphasis was being placed upon the Bridge - will he or won't he play with Terry - situation. Personally I feel that Baines and Warnock are far better full-backs anyway, and based on form, which Capello loves to talk about, are playing way better and more consistently at the moment. Bridge was good at Southampton, average at Chelsea and as yet has been average at City. Baines has been consistent for Everton for a few years now, and Warnock was great at Blackburn and is having just as much success with Villa. A completely unnecessary argument here as if Capello was to base his squad around playing regularly and form like he always says, there is no way Bridge should have ever been on that plane to South Africa.

  • Comment number 16.

    I for one commend Bridge for his decision.

    I can't imagen what he must be going through if these allegations are true. Whilst we may wish that he could carry on, on a professional basis if he feels he cannot do this, he has made this, obviously difficult decision. I believe this shows an honesty and respect for the "england cause" that he doesn't want to damage any unity or team spirit more than has already been by this situation.

    ps i thoroughly enjoyed this blog, and personally believe Baines will step up to the mark if Cole is unavailable for the world cup.

  • Comment number 17.

    Dont really care of Bridge all that much.....Come on Leighton bring us back the cup!!

  • Comment number 18.

    Not sure Baines is up to the job, hopefully Ashley Cole will be available or we'll have to play someone like Milner/Lescott out of position.

  • Comment number 19.

    It was up to Wayne, he's made the descision most of us expected but have to agree with Phil on this one, I'm not bothered about it affecting England. In my opinion Wayne's done Fabio a massive favour.

  • Comment number 20.

    You say Capello will not miss Bridge. Would he really miss Terry? Who is hardly world class.

  • Comment number 21.

    "3. At 2:15pm on 25 Feb 2010, united_for_rafa"

    So England won't make QF because they don't have Bridge. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

    How very insightful of you ;-)

  • Comment number 22.

    Capallo has already laid the blame at the feet of John Terry, otherwise why sack him as captain. If John Terry has any conscience at all, he would be the one to withdraw after all Wayne Bridge has done nothing wrong. It makes me sick to see how Terry has closed ranks with Ashley Cole. Birds of a feather?

  • Comment number 23.

    Hi Phil,

    Good article by the way. Ok so Bridge is gone and whatever people may think of that as you say there is no looking back. But as you appear to mention in your article it is possible that there are players still in the team upset by JT's actions. If this is still the case then can you see Capello not selecting JT in order to maintain discipline and a team togetherness?

    PS Would love to see Milner at left back but not too sure an Italian coach would do that. Lets face if England are to do well in this tournament than its not going to be built on a solid defence which makes a change. Like in qualifying lets not worrying about clean sheets just scoring goals!!!

  • Comment number 24.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 25.

    From a football point of view this is not that big a deal. From a moral point of view you should feel some sympathy for Bridge who appears to be the loser even though he is not the guilty party.
    AddickCW is correct in the comment at #5. What a land we now live in where nobody gives a toss about morality, where the super rich football player is never vilified and Terry's actions in all of this are not a problem.
    Bridge says he won't play, I say good for him. Phil says "he's cr4p anyway so who cares"

  • Comment number 26.

    united_for_rafa: get over yourself! this is probably the best scenario that could have happened! england now have the chance to get a decent 2nd left back. My money's on baines as he's been (apart from ashley cole) the only consistantly performing left back in the premiership.

  • Comment number 27.

    why wont he lose sleep?
    does that mean u consider bridge a non-entity?

  • Comment number 28.

    The simple fact is, John Terry is England's best Centre Back. Wayne Bridge wasn't even (arguably) our second best Left Back.

  • Comment number 29.

    It's a pity that Bridge felt the need to take such a decision. He should never have been put in such a position as Terry should have been dropped entirely. That said, Baines has been in outstanding form and, while probably a less potent attacking force than Cole, he's also a lot less prone to thinking he's Rivaldo and neglecting his defensive duties. A more than capable deputy, and arguably a better defensive option than Cole anyway.

  • Comment number 30.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 31.

    Yes he will be bothered about losing Bridge. Has massive
    experience from time at Chelsea, and all the time he has been with the England squad playing.

    What champions league and international match experience do Baines, Warnock etc have aside from
    watching it on the tele? This is a massive loss for England

  • Comment number 32.

    All irrelavant in my eyes Bridge had been defensively woeful this season and has also been stop-start with injuries. But i also think we have very little chance of doing anything at the world cup anyway.

    No established/genuine world class keeper
    Terry disruptive to squad and in poor form
    Ferdinand hardly played when he has done, he's been extremely sloppy
    No established right back, Glen Johnson been injured for ages and huge question marks over his defensive qualities this and previous seasons, Wes Brown a liability at international level, Gary Neville not the player he was now.

    Gerrard had one of his poorest seasons in a long time
    Lampard had a decent season but goal scoring wise excluding spot kicks hasn't been his usual best
    Lennon potentially out for the world cup with new groin tear
    Barry hasn't been the same player at Man City although might take a season to adjust with so many new faces/changes, will this affect his international form?
    Joe Cole is coming back very slowly after such a long time out of the game and it may be until next season that we see the Joe Cole of old
    Rooney our potential savour but theres going to be a huge amount of pressure on him and Fergie will get every inc out of him for the title before the world cup starts.

    Also who have we beaten who's is in the top 10 teams in recent history?

    Completely out-played by Spain and Brazil and was extremely fortunate to get anything out of the dutch game. The first result against Crotia was impressive but the second they were absolutely dreadful defensively and had half their team injured/suspended!

    Quarters at best!

  • Comment number 33.

    Exactly right Phil,

    and why should Capello lose sleep over Bridge. I feel sorry for him personally, but there is no room for sentiment in football. Looking at Bridges performances this season, to me he only seems to be sliding rather than mounting a seriousness challenge to even get into the squad (he would have been selected however), or push for a starting place should Ashley not make it, - which is very unlikely.

    Of the two main candidates you suggestes (Baines and Warnock) I would by far and away prefer the Everton, and formwer Wigan man Baines. Throuhgout his career he has always caught my eye as an unsung talent. He is Mr. Steady in defence, and can be threatening going forward.

    Warnock for me needs to use his head more, as demonstrated last night conceding a daft penalty, - (although it wasn't costly in the end because the Palace centre half was even more silly, - which is why he's playing in the championship and isn't being discussed in this blog as a potential England candidate.

    He dives in too much for me, and I question his positional sense, so often he is caught out of position, Baines however seems to have that happy medium in his game, knowing when to attack and when to stay in position, - a good quality to have.

    Ultimately however both know they will probably have to settle for a place on the bench, as chances are Ashley Cole will make it, in my opinion. The media love to create a 'will he make it' scenario to gee us up, and 9 times out of 10 the player does make it.

    Beckham and Rooney to use two high profile examples.

    For me Baines should and will be heading to South Africa, however there is still a good bit of the season left, and an injury not just for him but any other player, could soon turn the South African dream very rapidly into a nightmare.

    On a side:

    Phil were you in Milan last night, and what id you think?

  • Comment number 34.

    Biggest issue for me will be how many other players in the squad have an problem with Terry. Good job Capello isn't allowing the WAGS along this time as I'm sure some of the other players wouldn't be that keen on JT and Cashley (allegedly) being around them.

  • Comment number 35.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 36.

    Sorry but i was under the impression that this was over Bridges ex(underlined) girlfriend... Give Warnock a chance in the friendlies we have left, if its a shocker, play Milner or Lescott out of position.

  • Comment number 37.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 38.

    "England's left-back position is complicated by the loss of Ashley Cole, one of their few truly world-class players, to injury,"

    Can I just point out that Ashley Cole is not world class by any stretch of the imagination, a very good player yes but hardly up there with the best.

    A bit harsh in the blog title aswell Phil, I am sure it will give Capello a headache, big chance for Baines to show if he can step up now I think.

  • Comment number 39.

    Good article Phil, and it's nice to see someone paid to write on football that I agree with - Bridge, while being solid, has never been spectacular, and that Baines is underrated and should be the next in line after Cole. Gibbs would have been interesting, but is more one for the future, I feel that the media would have treated his inclusion in a WC squad as they did with Theo four years ago.

  • Comment number 40.

    Phil. I would have to agree with you that Gibbs could have been a good option but he was still making big mistakes. By the way he didn't get injured in a champions league game in January as their weren't any. It was in December.

    I do think that Bridge will be missed and it will be a big loss for Capello.

  • Comment number 41.

    'And with He has been mixed at best at Manchester City and has never been of proven international class.'


    It would be nice to see Warnock or Baines given a shot on their merits this season, and as for Joleon Lescott i think that Phil has managed to succintly sum up both him and Wayne Bridge albeit accidentally, (i will happily buy that that was intentional Mr.Mcnulty)

    Bearing your thoughts on the best man for the job in mind Phil, who do you think that Mr.Capello will actually see as his best man for the job?

  • Comment number 42.

    Capello will not even take 2 left backs to the world cup. Ashley will be fit and will start. If he need a rest or replacment then Lescott, Upson, Barry & Lescott can all play there so we have cover.

    Baines is the next logical choice. He is solid both in defense and going forward. It is a shame that we do not have all these option on the right - Johnson only has Richards for company and neither are that reliable.

    England are not good enough to beat the world's elite so who cares really.

  • Comment number 43.

    and for all of you stating that Terry should be stepping aside - I think Capello might disagree with you. England's best centre half or England 2nd best left back (Maybe).

    Come Terry - Keep your head up son !!!

  • Comment number 44.

    It's good to see that you have taken Bridge's concerns to heart (oh yes, what heart!) The man who should be removed from the squad is Terry. This is not based on a pure footballing decision but quite clearly a moral one. If you are to make a moral judgement on Bridge's situation and the effect it will have on the squad then surely you have to point the same moral finger at Terry - even more so as he is supposd to be the leader and captain of the squad - but then again who is more important to England and who would hacks rather see on the plane to South Africa - mmmmmm let me guess!

  • Comment number 45.

    Paul Scholes
    Jamie Carragher
    Luke Young
    And now another coward gives up on England.


  • Comment number 46.

    Baines and Shorey are far better defenders than Bridge. From a footballing point of view Phil is correct - Capello will NOT lose sleep over this matter.

  • Comment number 47.

    No mention of Lescott? He is no doubt gonna be on the plane already. To me he wud be the best fit of everybody else, even Gibbs and i'm a Gunners fan.

  • Comment number 48.

    Im not English but still found this article a slight interset, and Baines is good enough for the World Cup IMHO. The media claimed Capello gave Terry the boot of the captaincy to end allegations, but this doesn't seem to have worked. He doesn't deserve his place and if I was in that position I would have kicked him out of contention entirely.

    Nevertheless, Bridge isn't good enough anyway, I think.

    Lescott hasn't played well at all this season - or so i have heard - and as much as I believe Milner is easily good enough for England that definitely isn't as a full-back.

    As for Glen Johnson, how long is he still out for? Considering he has been on the sidelines for most of the season it could be a tough run-in for him, but who else is there? ... Micah Richards? - na.

    As someone posted earlier; Ashley Cole is a very dislikable figure but nevertheless world class, and in the centre I would play Ferdinand and.... well no-one else really stands out for me.

    Believe in your young players and don't claim they have no international experience, for if you keep using that excuse they'll never have any international experience.

    Play Joe Hart.

  • Comment number 49.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 50.

    I'm not a John Terry fan but doesn't this make the name Wayne Bridge synonymous with Drama Queen.

  • Comment number 51.

    Bridge has actually done England a favour and everyone should give him a break. He is much more replaceable than Terry- i'm sorry but upson, lescott or whoever are nowhere near the same class- plus if rio's injured which given his recent problems could well happen, we'll need Terry more than ever. Bridge has solved the problem by being honest, he doesn't feel he can work with Terry, so he won't. Had he decided to play feeling anger towards his former captain, it could have upset the entire dressing room. I think John Terry should be even more ashamed of himself as Bridge has shown him the meaning of the word honesty.

  • Comment number 52.

    I think all this is the result of the media. You put so much emphasis on this. And as for Bridge, i don't mean to sound harsh but what shud it matter if a bloke had an affiar with ur "ex" girlfriend? If u cared so much then yall shud have still been together.

  • Comment number 53.

    I think people are missing the point.
    I'm a City fan, and it's correct that Bridge isn't great, and he won't be sorely missed, but the main point is, he should be applauded. I think he's done England a great service in removing himself from the equation. The media circus has already been ridiculous and had he gone to the world cup, every single pass and glance between the two would have been scrutinised. I can't imagine any hard feelings between the two being enough to stop someone wanting to play for their country - everyone on here must know you can play football with someone you completely dislike and just get on with it - i think Bridge just realised it would be a massive distraction to England's world cup hopes, and therefore did the honourable thing.

    Don't insult him.
    Don't just feel sorry for him.
    Thank him.
    Now we can move on and forget about this whole affair.

  • Comment number 54.

    What is this, football's equivalent of 'Heat'? The casual disregard with how you treat Bridge's decision is surprising Phil. To you he may be a mere commodity that can be replaced by a number of potentially better options but the reality is, he has had his life turned upside down and as a result has had to give up an opportunity that every football fan could only ever dream about.

    Maybe Baines or Warnock would be better. Who knows. but don't forget the human side of this and just how difficult this decison was for Bridge.

    I was rather hoping you would address another issue today, namely that of Owen Coyle's decision to change 5 of his outfield players against Spurs, effectively handing them victory (and 4-0 would suggest it was hardly a fight). It seems rather submissive from somewho who was recently described as "...not in the business of hoisting the white flag". Well, 5 changes, when your strongest 11 is hardly setting the world on fire seems surrender of the higest order!

    "As a general principle, though, give me the manager who thinks he can win every game rather than the one who limply accepts there are times when his team have no chance. In other words, Owen Coyle."

    Really? Owen Coyle? Last night? Interested in your thoughts!

  • Comment number 55.

    i couldnt read past: many feel bridge has let his country down? how can that be? if you wanna get moralistic about this you should kick terry out of the team
    i wouldnt wanna play with someone who you used to be your m8 and cheated with your wife, have lotsa respect for bridge how hes kept cool about it

  • Comment number 56.

    the papers always find a way to ruin our world cup hopes, I think it should have been Terry that steps down. Phil how you can say Bridge is no great loss is ridiculous. We have good replacements with experience for Terry, we have no one for Bridge, if Cole is not match fit we will struggle at left back....fact!

    Terry is obviously a good defender despite some simple mistakes against Inter last night but I would say team morale would be much better with him not there. He will still cause divides, I'm sure alot of the england players are good friends with Bridge.

    Plus Terry cant stay on his feet in a penalty shoot out...ha!

  • Comment number 57.

    You use the word ruthless to describe Capello. In my view wrongly. Ruthless is a word that that suggests little compassion and without regard to human feeling.I don't see capello in that light. I would choose to say the ultimate football professional, incisive and decisive managing without fear or favour. Unlike many of the mealy mouthed football managers today. Big difference. I would have described Sir Alf Ramsey in similar vein. Both men with high moral standards and levels of professional and personal integrity. Qualities that are sadly lacking in most levels of society in Britain today. I won't even mention politics or journalism!

    Only Wayne Bridge really knows what he feels towards John Terry but obviously his distaste for the man is so strong that he is willing to sacrifice an England place in order to not want to be anywhere in his company, least of all alongside him on the pitch.That's his own very personal business. I applaud his character and his honesty.There is much more to life than football and the overindulged media and celebrity circus that it has become.

    Naturally no one is irreplaceable and having watched Terry of late, including last night. I am beginning to wonder whether the furore that has descended on him and, of his own making, is beginning to affect his performance on the pitch. It seems that the scrutiny and attention he has been subjected to in playing away from home has affected him.

  • Comment number 58.

    Odd move from Bridge, I have no symptathy with the lad. John Terry really didn't betray him if that's what he feels, you were not together Wayne at the time! Also with Cole injured Bridge would have been almost a certainty to cover for him even though Bridge is a pretty ordinary player. Baines and Cole will most likely go now.

    Capello surely must be wondering what will happen next - Rio is not going to make the World Cup, 2 games all season - injured again! Terry and his troubles, Gerrard and Lampard look past it. Rooney is just going to get injured! Cole has problems with his ankle. Lennon. Injury crisis, behaviour crisis. Capello may aswell cancel the trip to SA at this rate.

  • Comment number 59.

    Capello will not like having to deal with what he will regard as a sideshow - but deal with it he will in the ruthless and single-minded fashion that has become his trademark. Anyone doubting this need only recall him dragging Terry from Chelsea's training ground at Cobham to Wembley for a 12-minute meeting that ended with the Chelsea defender a former England captain.

    should have sacked Terry. Bridge did nothing wrong, Capello should have shown a bit of class and backed him. Bridge is right, Terry should be sacked from the squad, which would allow Carra/Lescott/Upson/Jag etc to fight it out. The England back 4 has been a boys club for too long.

  • Comment number 60.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 61.

    Forget baines and warnock! in Milner/Lescott there is cover there. Even Barry can fill in at left back! bridge was only going as back up..why waste a spot! MICHAEL OWEN!!!!!!

  • Comment number 62.

    Silly Blog.
    Still kicking the one person who has NOT done anything wrong.
    FA and Capello did not have the BALLS to kick JT out.
    Bridge had NO other choice after that...hence the news today.
    SAD...very SAD.

  • Comment number 63.

    I'm not in the least bit surprised that Bridge came to this decision and I'm also not in the least bit bothered. If my IQ was low enough to warrant needing soap operas in my life then I'd watch one. On footballing merits he's not worthy of a place and that is all that matters. Horse placenta will make sure Cole is fit enough to get on the aeroplane to S.A. and break down 2 games into the competition, but who cares? As, you pointed out, we have Stephen Warnock and Leighton Baines who have outperformed Bridge and that is all that should matter. Sure, they don't have international experience, but who is to blame for that? The England management. We never ever ever ever blood players into the squad unless they look like they're going to be world beaters at age 18.

  • Comment number 64.

    If England don't win the World Cup blame the media

  • Comment number 65.

    do you really want this bunch of tawdry,arrogant individuals who make up this England team to go down in the same books as Bobby Charlton,Banks etc as England world cup legends?
    i know i dont

  • Comment number 66.

    I admire Bridge's stance and agree that by including him there would be a split in the dressing room which isn't good for us fans if we want England to do well. It's also a blessing in disguise (Bridge is an accident waiting to happen as he can't really defend) so now that Baines who is a much better player then him has to be played in England's next friendly. Even Warnock is better then Bridge.

    No bridge is no big loss, and the furore that this has caused is simply embarrassing.

  • Comment number 67.


    Typical! So much for free speech.

    The point is that too many people can't seem to separate the issues here. It's only football that matters on this and if Bridge has decided that he doesn't want to represent his country or thinks that his country is best served without him, then that's that.

    I don't think the team/squad as a whole has been adversely affected in a material way, so can we just move on as if Capello hadn't selected him anyway.


  • Comment number 68.

    Just an idea - Phil Neville? Experienced at LB, solid, leader and versatile to fill in elsewhere if needed. Is he internationally retired or something? Thinks hes worth the shout.

    I wouldn't like to see Milner there.

    Maybe as we arn't expecting too much from the English circus they may do well for once.

  • Comment number 69.

    Agree that Bridge is no great loss for England but neither is Terry if it ever came down to it (I don't believe he should be the one stepping aside instead of Bridge).

    Why do people regard Terry as irreplaceable? When has he ever come up with a match winning/saving performance for England? Sure he can throw himself around for some useful blocks and get up in the air well to head the ball clear but so can a load of other English defenders. How many times does Terry get turned or done for pace? A lot. Refer to Inters first goal last night for example.

    I'm not jumping on the whole get Terry out of the England team bandwagon but the way the media act its like hes the only player for England and completely indispensable which is a ridiculous insinuation.

    If Rooney gets injured and misses England games then ok I will worry a little bit. If the same happens to Terry? No big deal. Players with just as much capability to come in for him.

  • Comment number 70.

    Phil, you're forgetting Gareth Barry..

    Surely if needs must he has the international experience and quality to do a job for England when needed.

  • Comment number 71.

    The BBC Sport headline "Bridge turns back on England team" is a tad harsh.

    I've got a lot of sympathy for Wayne. He's made the right decision, and it was a selfless one.

    I think Bridge is/was ahead of the other candidates you've mentioned there, but there are certainly more indispensible players; John Terry being one of them.

    And that's Bridge's problem - he's not as important as Terry.

    If it was the other way around, do you think Terry would've quit the England team in a world cup year?

  • Comment number 72.

    I know I'm clutching at straws, but England won the world cup in 1966 with an Everton player at left back. Maybe Baines' inclusion could be a good omen?

  • Comment number 73.

    What a horrendous blog, good to see your morales firmly in place.

    Surely the fact that Wayne Bridge is part of the England set up entering into a world cup year is the point here. I think John Terry has shown complete disrespect to not only the England team but the fans, he has basically put himself before the whole world cup campaign.

    I cant imagine that some of the other England players are to happy with what has gone on.

  • Comment number 74.

    14. At 2:31pm on 25 Feb 2010, footballs-coming-home-maybe wrote:
    It still puzzles me that the english media, for which their back pages are mostly dedicated to this most beatiful of sports, decide that they want to throw a spanner in the works before a major tornament? What does this acheive?


    Paper sales?

    What, do you think our national game is a priority to them?

  • Comment number 75.

    And yes please get Baines in at left back, the guy has been playing out of his skin since the middle of last season and it takes injuries/withdrawals for him to be recognised which is criminal. Thought Capello picked players based on form, what has Bridge done all season anyway?

  • Comment number 76.

    Wayne Bridge GET OVER IT.

    Im not suggesting it would be easy, but when I put myself in your shoes I think you are making a BIG mistake.

    John Terry and your ex-girlfriend (EX) are the cause of this, but she was only your ex, you have no hold over her. You have every chance of being England's 1st choice left back due to Coles injury, what a chance.

    Put your schoolboy attitude to one side and play in the same team as Terry, and try and win the World Cup for your country. Dont speak to Terry off the pitch, and you dont have to respect him in any way.

    You WILL regret this one day, I can assure you.

  • Comment number 77.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 78.

    Give Baines a chance in the friendly, if he plays well and continues his form in the premier league I don't see why you wouldn't take him. Lescott hasn't impressed at City or for England- and picking a player because of their form a year ago isn't really something i'm too comfortable with. I still think that when Jagielka is back fully fit and proper he should be considered for England if his performances are on par with how he was performing previously.

  • Comment number 79.

    I think it is a shame that bridge has been forced to end his career when he isnt to blame for the whole situation but I do think that calls for Terry to be dropped altogether are ridiculous. If you dropped him on the basis of what hes done then surely other players such as Rio Ferdinand who served a long ban for missing a drugs test, Steven Gerrard who was in court for fighting in a club, Ashley Cole etc should all be dropped for being bad role models and being a disruption to the squad? Lets just face it footballers are hardly angels!

  • Comment number 80.

    Oh and Phil please thank the moderators once again for destroying any chance of a debate or discussion going on here. Its ridiculous this whole moderation process, can't you just adopt a post-moderation approach? Its your blog, do something about it.

  • Comment number 81.

    I'm getting mighty sick and tired of so-called 'experts' writing nonsense. This has been one of the main reasons of the decline of English football culture over the past couple of decades and why the potential of England at international level has never really been fulfilled. With our history we should be up there with Brazil and Italy. We're not.
    A culture with too many 'experts' and not enough actual expertise.
    Your logic is faulty, Phil. If Wayne isn't proven 'international class' (a term overused in a country which has only once been a contender or champion at international level, on its own soil, no less) then what do you suggest? Putting out a back three?
    Wayne has not covered himself in glory in his first season at at his new club. How rare and unusual that is in football and the Premier League... The fact of the matter is that Bridge is an above average left-back and usually no less than solid and relatively consistent(there's no such thing as absolute consistency in footy) in an England shirt and he definitely has the experience and focus(present circumstances excluded), if nothing else.
    Baines and Warnock are good choices, but as the debacle with Scott Carson vs Croatia showed, bringing in new players into important roles at too late a stage can almost ruin a player's career. Carson, in particular, was villified despite the poor management attached to his situation and exemplified the bad attitude and lack of patience & understanding shown by the press. The same lack of patience & understanding that has brought the youth development of English and further afield, British, players to a grinding and unproductive halt.
    Capello will lose a bit of sleep, because the one thing he values more than anything else is commitment and we know that's what Bridge had whenever he pulled on the shirt. Oh, and besides Cole, he was the only left-back prepared to take on opposing full-backs, something Capello likes. As good as they are, from what I've seen from them this season, this is not really part of their particular style.
    If we only included players of 'proven international' quality we'd have a squad of about 4-5 players max. And don't forget this is the first time we'll have an in-form, non-kid Rooney for this tourney, capitalizing on his magnificent club form. (Don't bother mentioning WC2002 or E2004, he was just a kid then. And for WC2006, he was still injured and a had a bad attitude as we found to our cost.) By your own logic, until Rooney plays out this tournament and has a good one to boot, he isn't 'proven international' quality.
    How ridiculous does that sound?

  • Comment number 82.

    I wouldn't have taken bridge anyway, some of his performances this season have been terrible.

  • Comment number 83.

    I am not qualified to properly comment on Baines potential as an England left back as I don't watch him that often, but to describe his perfomance against Man U as 'Stellar' is an exaggeration in the extreme -Everton were excellent overall, however for the first half hour at any rate all United's best work came down Everton's left, including the goal, and Baines looked far from able to cope.

    Please don't distort facts purely so they fit your overall argument!

  • Comment number 84.

    The unfortunate fact of the matter is that in football, off-the-field behaviour matters very little if you are doing the business on it. Terry, Cole and all the other undesirable top-flight footballers who would erstwhile be seen on the Jeremy Kyle show will be guaranteed a jersey on a Saturday if their performances over 90 minutes are keeping their managers happy.
    One must sympathise with Bridge over Terry's (alleged) disgraceful behaviour but Capello and Ancelotti have a remit to deliver success, and compromising some of the best performing machines in their factory to provide hugs for their lesser performers is simply not an option.
    This is systematic of societal acceptance when it comes to "naughty naughty boys" and a nation of people who crave success above all else.

    Wise comments here Phil.

    England XI for World Cup:





  • Comment number 85.

    to be honest; considering that Cole's out, England can afford to lose John Terry way more than they can afford to lose Bridge.

    Terry's a good central defender, but (unless Rio's out through injury or something) are more than covered in that department, with able substitutes. Considering what Terry did was a bit scummy, and that he's been caught in a few of these issues now, Capello would've best been placed by dropping Terry from the team.

    How are the rest of the English team looking at Terry? They can't possible (a) commiserate or (b) support him. Makes him a bit of a black sheep, dun't it?

  • Comment number 86.

    "Where's my comment?All new members are pre-moderated initially, which means that there will be a short delay between when you post your comment and when it appears while one of our moderators checks it."

    So 2 years now counts as a new member?!!

  • Comment number 87.

    Not an English fan, however I see it like this, there is a real chance England will be going to the World cup with 2 inexperienced left backs - there is no guarantee cole will be back and even if he is, where will his head be, going through a high profile divorce.

    Although the candidates are Warnock and Baines, there is another option that i have been raising recently with mates, and i'm sure most of you will laugh - Phil Neville - Can play at left back, right back and defensive midfield.

    Milner would be wasted at left back, Barry would do a job there, but surely Neville is worth taking as he can play a few positions, which then offers the chance of taking a risk with 1 or 2 other positions and maybe take 5 strikers or a rodwell or even hargreaves if fit.

    England have no shortage of options in midfield, scott parker another option.

    Upson and Lescott again i don't think would be ideal solutions, would probably do an ok job, but i'd fancy myself if i was a right winger against either of them.

    We will see what the next few months bring but the problems are starting to mount for England, already and if Rooney gets a bad injury, then its good night Irene and home before the post cards, a la Scotland.

    It is a real shame that gibbs is injured, i think he would have went as back up to cole, he will be arsenal 1st choice in a couple of years and clichy will be sold for a huge profit to barca or madrid.

  • Comment number 88.

    John Terry was sacked? You do not go into detail about the allegations. I can't imagine what he possibly could have done off-field to merit his sacking as England captain.

    Pluto was okay, quite peaceful, but it can get pretty cold and is a nightmare to get to.

  • Comment number 89.

    I think Bridge wil have had a good look at his role within the England squad when making this decision. In his heart of hearts Bridge will know provdiding Cole is fit, he is destined for a World Cup campaign as active as ours, watching it from the sidelines.

    There is no way if Bridge was a high-profile England player, he would have made the decision he has, regardless of what he said his decision was made on the grounds of.

    Lets create the scenario Terry had been sneaking around with Coleen Rooney. There is not a hope in hell, that Rooney would call time on his England carreer, if he did I think Gordon Brown (if he's in power then), would send out a countrywide petition against it. Well I think it would be more likely Terry didn't make it, after Rooney had finished with him. Can't see FIFA allowing a player to play in a full-body cast.

    So like I said undoubtedly Bridge is the victim in this, I feel he has been clever blaming his decision solely on the recent happenings. I think as well as this if the truth be known, Bridge has sat down and looked at his importance to the England squad, and realised injuries are probably the only route he has to make a decent contribution to the England team.

    Just a thought!

  • Comment number 90.

    Talking about serious contenders not Theo Walcott inclusions. Kibbs isn't there, or anywhere near. Any self respecting winger would tear him to shreds, even a CM might skin him for a laugh, touch and no substance.

  • Comment number 91.

    #3, that was the worst comment I have ever read.

  • Comment number 92.

    Terrible that it comes to this, nobody should have to give up England duty because of their relationship with another player.

    There are plenty of options to cover, so we shouldn't worry too much.

    However John Terry could now help us all, could we now introduce him to Mrs Stewart Downing & Mrs Wes Brown.

    I'll get my coat.

  • Comment number 93.

    "And Arsenal's very gifted youngster Kieran Gibbs could have played his way into contention had he not been cut down by Standard Liege's Eliaquim Manga in the dying seconds of their Champions League game in January and been ruled out for the rest of the season with a broken bone in a foot."

    January? Really??

  • Comment number 94.

    "Wayne Bridge is no great loss to England, so expect coach Fabio Capello to have moved on to other business seconds after learning that Manchester City's defender had removed his "potentially divisive" presence from his squad"


    I'm not so sure it's as clear cut as that.

    If Cole doesn't make it to South Africa, it will be a big issue for Capello, not least because Bridge has got the international experience, whilst Warnock and Gibbs haven't.

    And if Warnock or Baines pick up an injury between now and the summer, it will become a huge issue for Capello.

  • Comment number 95.

    Stunning tha GIBBS can be even mentioned as a contender. Just cos he plays (er doesnt play) for Arsenal does not mean he has proved anything. They are hardly watertight at the back and Gibbs cant get in front of Traore let alone the increasingly dodgy looking Cliche. Typical Big Fou bias when you consider Baines and Warnock have been outstanding for months on end.

    Reminds me of another overrated Arsenal player would never gone to the World Club in a non-top four club. WALCOTT! And he didnt do a lot in Germany now did he.....?

  • Comment number 96.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 97.

    I think Wayne has made a mistake here, but it is refreshing to see a footballer who is clearly not just as shallow as some of the others. I think one day he will regret not having the opportunity to go to the World Cup. That said, I think he has done the team a favour because I believe Stephen Warnock and Leighton Baines have been overlooked despite being in great form for the past season.

  • Comment number 98.

    To #45,

    you need to open the Oxford Dictionary and study the words 'ethics', 'coward', 'morals'.

    Bridge had every right, under the circumstances not to play for England. When his kid understands things better about life and asks relevant questions will be proud from dad's reaction.

    Of course, everyone tries to promote his own team's left back and this is quite amusing, to be specific. But when such things occur in such a high profile national team, high profile decisions need to be made. It would be good for the future of England team, both John Terry and Ashley Cole to be axed for good. It would set the best example for the future. It would be the best decisions for future somebodies who put their willy above England. And that's it.

    At Manchester United, they say that no player is bigger than the team. And they've proven it many times, when it was required. About time to start thinking that Terry and Cole are bigger than England. (started laughing)

  • Comment number 99.

    Perhaps we should give Wayne Bridge the benefit of the doubt and applaud the actions of a seemingly honourable person. He states that his being included in the squad could be ultimately "devisive". Who are we to argue? how many England training sessions have we attended and do we know these players personally? It seems he wants to avoid potential splits within the squad and has taken himself out of the equation. He realises that Terry is the more important member of the squad and has put England before his own ambitions. Of course he would want to play in a World Cup, however, he has acted out of the greater good and sacrificed himself. This must have been dificult; he has made JT's summer infinitely easier, but I for one applaud his selflessnes and reject all notion of cowardice on Bridge's part.

  • Comment number 100.

    # 67 MrBlueBurns

    Join the club. Just when I thought the likes of you and me were untouchable on these blogs we get gagged.


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