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Fabio Capello keen on Wayne Bridge England return

Capello 'respects' Bridge decision

England coach Fabio Capello is hoping Manchester City defender Wayne Bridge will rethink his decision not to go to the World Cup this summer.

Following allegations that his ex-girlfriend had an affair with Chelsea's John Terry, Bridge, 29, has opted not to be chosen for England duty.

"It surprised me," admitted Capello of Bridge's decision. "But the door is always open for him. We have time.

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

BBC Sport understands Bridge is effectively retiring from the international scene, though Capello is clearly hoping the defender will change his mind before this summer's World Cup.

BBC Sport's Phil McNulty

Terry was sacked as England captain by Capello earlier this month, but in a statement released by his lawyers, Bridge said his position in the national squad had become "untenable and potentially divisive".

England face Egypt in a friendly at Wembley next Wednesday and despite reports earlier this week suggesting Bridge was considering his international future because he was unwilling to play alongside Terry, Capello believed he would be available for selection.

The Italian stated on Wednesday: "No, he will be with us. No problems about the other things."

However, Bridge's statement has shown the left-back remains troubled by the situation.

"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," said Bridge.

"Sadly therefore, I feel for the sake of the team and in order to avoid what will be inevitable distractions, I have decided not to put myself forward for selection."

With England's opening World Cup match against the United States on 12 June less than four months away, Bridge's decision leaves Capello with a selection headache over England's left-back spot.

Bridge decision terrible for Capello - Farquhar

Chelsea's Ashley Cole is already sidelined with a broken ankle and is a doubt for the tournament.

Aston Villa defenders Stephen Warnock and Nicky Shorey, Everton's Leighton Baines and Manchester City's Joleon Lescott are all possible replacements, although all are relatively inexperienced at international level.

Bridge, who has played for England 36 times and recently returned from a two-month lay-off with a knee injury, was a team-mate of Terry's at Chelsea before joining Manchester City last year.

The pair are due to meet on the pitch for the first time since details of the alleged affair were made public when City visit Chelsea on Saturday.

Only a fortnight ago, City boss Roberto Mancini expressed confidence that Bridge would go to South Africa.

He admitted on Friday: "I thought Wayne would stay with the national team.

"It must have been a very difficult decision because I know how important the national team is for any player."

see also
Bridge turns back on England team
25 Feb 10 |  Football
Terry & Bridge decline peace bid
25 Feb 10 |  Football
Bridge ready for Man City return
05 Feb 10 |  Man City
Capello warns squad over conduct
24 Feb 10 |  World Cup 2010
Capello strips Terry of captaincy
05 Feb 10 |  Football
England captain role 'overstated'
04 Feb 10 |  Football
Man City players support Bridge
31 Jan 10 |  Man City
FA refuses to comment over Terry
30 Jan 10 |  Football
Bridge seals transfer to Man City
03 Jan 09 |  Man City

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