Bridge told to end Terry rift or forget World Cup
Wayne Bridge has been warned by the Fabio Capello camp that if he does not turn up for England's friendly against Egypt next month because of the John Terry scandal, then he will be left out of the World Cup squad -- despite the latest injury to Ashley Cole.
Capello was hit with his first major pre-World Cup injury crisis yesterday when Cole was ruled out for four months with a fractured ankle -- which puts his participation in the June tournament in real danger. The 29-year-old will now struggle to be fit in time for the announcement of the World Cup squad in late May and is a severe blow for the England manager.
It puts even more pressure on the second choice left-back Bridge not to quit international football, despite his anger at Terry's alleged affair with his ex-fiance Vanessa Perroncel. The Capello camp has said in private that it considers the matter closed now and it expects Bridge to join up with the squad as usual for the friendly next month.
Should Bridge decide that he cannot face sharing the same hotel and dressing room as his former friend Terry, then Capello will bring the curtain down on the player's international career. With only one friendly before the squad has to be named, he has no intention of giving Bridge the game off on March 3.
As for Bridge, he has not made up his mind yet what he intends to do with his international career. The injury to Cole will certainly change his thinking; it has at last given him the chance to step out from the shadow of the man who took his place at Chelsea.
Capello has not spoken to Bridge since the scandal broke and he has no intention of doing so. Barring injury, it would now seem inevitable that Bridge (29) will be selected in the squad for the Egypt game that will be announced on February 27. Awkward will not do justice to the scene when Terry and Bridge walk out in front of the TV cameras at Arsenal's London Colney training ground for the first time.
Cole, who has 77 caps, more than Rio Ferdinand and Frank Lampard, broke his ankle in a challenge with Landon Donovan in the defeat by Everton on Wednesday. Donovan will captain the US against England in their first World Cup group game. A scan yesterday revealed the extent of the damage to Cole. Other choices at left-back are Leighton Baines at Everton, who has performed impressively this season, and Stephen Warnock at Aston Villa, who is currently injured. James Milner and Joleon Lescott can also play there.
The president of Fifa, Sepp Blatter, said yesterday that Terry would have been applauded in some countries rather than sacked as national team captain for having an affair.
Blatter, in Vancouver for the International Olympic Committee's session, said that in "Latin" countries such as France, Italy and Spain, Terry's conduct may not have been considered a problem. "This is a special approach in the Anglo-Saxon countries," Blatter said. "If this had happened in, let's say, Latin countries then I think he would have been applauded."
Terry has now been given time off by Chelsea to address the issues in his personal life and will miss his side's FA Cup tie against Cardiff City tomorrow. (© Independent News Service)