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Mancini reveals Bridge's trauma

Wayne Bridge will play for Manchester City at Hull on Saturday even though Blues boss Roberto Mancini has told a prominent member of England's coaching staff that the full-back is finding it difficult to deal with all the furore that has erupted around him.

At Wembley for an ultimately failed attempt to secure a work permit for Kenyan midfielder McDonald Mariga, Mancini met Franco Baldini, Fabio Capello's trusted assistant.

Baldini will play a key role in deciding whether John Terry keeps his job as England captain given he is one of the few men Capello will consult before making his decision.

And, while Mancini was able to confirm Bridge's recovery from a knee injury and a comeback after two months out of action, if Baldini was hoping to hear the 29-year-old had just dismissed an alleged affair between former team-mate Terry and ex-girlfriend Vanessa Perroncel, he would have been disappointed.

"I spoke with Baldini on Monday morning," revealed Mancini. "He asked me about Wayne and I told him that he is training every day.

"I said it is not a good moment in his head but it's not a problem on the training ground. It's important he can play now and not think about the other person."

One of the major issues Capello undoubtedly faces as he determines Capello's fate is that of Bridge.

Should the full-back decide he can no longer share a dressing room with Terry, Capello would then have to decide between the pair.

On pure ability and importance to England, there is no choice. But that would mean Bridge missing out through no fault of his own, which, under the circumstances, hardly seems fair.

Capello's problems are no concern of Mancini. The City boss is purely bothered about getting a winning team on the pitch at the KC Stadium, although his assessment of Bridge might give Capello reason to pause for thought.

"Wayne is the best left-back in England and the Premier League," said Mancini. "That is the most important thing for me and the other players."

However, there will be no repeat of the 'Team Bridge' shirt show of solidarity modelled by Stephen Ireland, Nigel de Jong and Carlos Tevez in the win over Portsmouth.


For Bridge's sake -- and City's -- Mancini wants the emphasis purely on beating Hull. "They used the shirts after the Portsmouth game and now it's finished," he said. "It is important we think about other things. I spoke with Wayne two days ago, three days ago and yesterday. He wants to play on Saturday and I think he can."

With Bridge alongside him, Patrick Vieira's debut could pass by almost unnoticed if the Frenchman comes through training after arriving from Inter Milan three weeks ago with a calf problem. Joleon Lescott is set for a spot on the bench, where he might be joined by new arrival Adam Johnson, who signed in a deadline-day deal from Middlesbrough.

Vieira and Johnson turned out to be City's only January deals, although Mancini was thwarted by red tape in his efforts to lure Mariga to Eastlands from Parma.