Football: Fed up Ferguson says farewell to Scotland

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The Everton striker Duncan Ferguson is believed to have announced his retirement from international football - at the age of 25.

Ferguson last played for Scotland in February when they were held to a 0-0 draw by Estonia in a World Cup qualifier. He has repeatedly pulled out of international squads because of a number of niggling injuries. However, he was fit to play against Belarus last month, only to be omitted by Craig Brown, the Scotland manager, who stayed loyal to the strikers who had played all campaign.

Now Ferguson, after just seven caps, has reportedly sent a letter to the Scottish Football Association, saying he wants to concentrate on playing club football. Apparently, he does not want to be considered for the vital final qualifier against Latvia at Celtic Park on 11 October - or the finals in France themselves.

Brown, who will name his squad for that match on Wednesday, has accepted the position. "I am aware of the situation," he said. "If we get to the World Cup finals, we may look at it again. But I am not keen on having any reluctant conscripts."

Fabrizio Ravanelli has launched a bitter attack on the Middlesbrough manager, Bryan Robson, insisting he is "too soft", and criticising the running of the club.

Robson aimed a parting shot at the Italian international after he had completed a pounds 5.35m move to Marseille. He blamed Ravanelli's excessive personal demands for the collapse of several deals that would have seen him leave Boro much sooner.

But Ravanelli said: "Robson had this big reputation as a tough player, but as a manager he is too soft." He added: "There's no way Middlesbrough will ever will ever be a big club while the club is run in such an amateurish way."