Football: Beardsley withdraws from England squad

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The Independent Online
THE effort of retaining Newcastle's place at the top of the Premiership claimed another England player last night as Peter Beardsley was withdrawn from the squad to play Romania on Wednesday.

Beardsley, who was pulled out by his manager, Kevin Keegan, after the 1-1 draw with Blackburn because of a thigh injury, joins Andy Cole and Barry Venison on Terry Venables' list of absent Magpies. A fourth Newcastle player, Robert Lee, travelled to the England squad's Buckinghamshire hotel last night despite Keegan claiming he was not fully fit.

Lee, who was substituted after a quiet performance against Blackburn, also has a thigh strain. Keegan said: 'He says he is fit but I have my doubts.'

Of Beardsley, Keegan said: 'I didn't expect him to play today but he said he was fit. Now he needs to rest until we play Crystal Palace on Saturday.'

Venables has not replaced Beardsley, whose absence means that Matthew Le Tissier seems certain to be in the England starting line-up for the first time. Earlier in the day Venables called up Steve McManaman, the Liverpool winger, following the withdrawal of Darren Anderton, of Tottenham, with a groin injury.

McManaman, so long an equal source of frustration and delight to Liverpool managers, has maintained a high level of performance this season and was watched by Venables at Anfield on Saturday.

Anghel Iordanescu, the Romanian manager, has a few injury worries of his own after Saturday evening's goalless draw with France in St Etienne. The defender Daniel Prodan, the midfield player Daniel Timofte and Florin Raducioiu are all doubtful.

Ian Rush has a knee injury and has pulled out of the Wales squad for the European Championship qualifying match away to Moldova. Scotland will be captained by Paul McStay against the Faroe Islands following the withdrawal of the injured Gary McAllister. Steve Morrow has pulled out of the Northern Ireland squad to play Austria because of a knee injury. Alan Kelly is out of the Republic of Ireland squad to face Liechtenstein because of a hand injury.