Duncan Ferguson, the Scotland and Everton striker, will miss the European Championship finals after being ordered to rest by his club manager, Joe Royle.
The 6ft 4in Ferguson will not have an operation to cure his long-term hernia problem. Instead, Everton hope that a summer holiday will solve the problem. Royle broke the news to Scotland's manager, Craig Brown, yesterday after weeks of concern about Ferguson's chances of playing in the June finals. He will miss Everton's final two games of the season - and Scotland's friendly with Denmark in Copenhagen next Wednesday. "We've made the decision that he won't play in our last two games," Royle said. "We want him to have a full rest over the summer to give him a chance of a full recovery for next season."
Brown said: "We won't fight that medical opinion. It is disappointing, but we have to accept it. I have spoken to Duncan and he is quite emotional about the whole thing."
A back injury has forced Alan Kelly, the Sheffield United goalkeeper, to withdraw from the Republic of Ireland's squad for next Wednesday's friendly against the Czech Republic in Prague. Shay Given, the Blackburn keeper who is on loan to Sunderland, will deputise once more if he overcomes a rib injury.
The Port Vale winger, Jon McCarthy, has been brought into Northern Ireland's squad for their friendly against Sweden in Belfast on the same night. He replaces the injured Newcastle United forward, Keith Gillespie.Reuse content