Football: Sellars in contention for England flank vacancy

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The Independent Online
SCOTT SELLARS could be the surprise solution to England's shortage of left-sided midfielders, writes Alan Nixon. Kevin Keegan and his assistants have watched the Bolton Wanderers captain recently and he could earn his first England call at the age of 33.

Sellars is one of Keegan's favourite players from their days together at Newcastle United, where he made a number of Andy Cole's goals, and he remains one of the better left-sided English midfielders. England's caretaker coach has sent Derek Fazackerley, who was also a Sellars fan at Newcastle, to watch him in action twice in the past fortnight and his other scout, Arthur Cox, has also assessed his form.

Sellars could appear in the squad to face Poland on Saturday week as Keegan is frustrated in his search for players happy on that side of the field. Steve McManaman is having problems at Liverpool, and on Saturday he was left out of the squad to face Derby at Pride Park, where Keegan made his first official scouting trip. Darren Anderton looked uncomfortable in the role in the friendly against France in February. Two other alternatives are Blackburn's Jason Wilcox and Leicester's Steve Guppy.

Keegan took Sellars to Newcastle from Leeds United at the start of the club's purple patch seven years ago and he was sold to Bolton, now in the Nationwide League First Division, only because of the dazzling form of David Ginola. He has been one of Bolton's best players this season as they have struggled to regain a place in the Premiership.

McManaman will fly out with Liverpool today for a three-day training camp in France. Gerard Houllier, the Anfield manager, said yesterday there had been no row with the Real Madrid-bound player and that there was no truth in the suggestion that McManaman has played his last game for the club.

Newcastle's Andreas Andersson, who scored against England in September, was overlooked yesterday when Sweden's coach, Tommy Soderberg, named an experienced squad for the Euro 2000 qualifying matches against Luxembourg on 27 March and Poland on 31 March.