Bridge still 'committed' to England

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The Independent Online

Roberto Mancini, the Manchester City manager, expects Wayne Bridge to answer England's World Cup call.

With Ashley Cole ruled out for three months after breaking his ankle at Everton on Wednesday, Bridge is first in line to replace the Chelsea left-back in next month's friendly with Egypt and possibly the World Cup itself, if Cole's recovery from surgery, which he underwent yesterday, does not go as planned.

That has raised inevitable questions about Bridge's ability to play alongside deposed captain John Terry, given the recent furore over the pair's private lives. However, Mancini does not see a problem. "He never told me that he wouldn't play for England," he said "The national team is important. I have not spoken to him but I think, if he is picked, he will play."

The City manager is nonplussed as to why Bridge might consider turning his country down. "He is committed to playing for England," Mancini said. "It is important for any player to play at the World Cup. It is important for their career, especially if they can play in the first XI."

Of more immediate importance to Mancini is the fact Bridge is only two matches into his recovery from a knee injury sustained against his old club in December. "Wayne is a good man," Mancini said. "But he has only just recovered and is still maybe at around 60 per cent."

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