Ferguson denies threat to put block on England players

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The Independent Football

The United coach said he had not made any threats to Sven Goran Eriksson or any other international manager. "That's nonsense. I never said that. People just think I've got something against England."

He is reported to have told the magazine United: "I have never had a problem with competitive games, but I will not risk my players in a friendly. I do not like the friendly internationals. England have one this month and you can bet that Chelsea and Arsenal will be pulling their players out. And if I have the injury problems I have at the moment, I will be too."

With only four matches to hone England's performances before the World Cup in Germany in eight month's time Eriksson is counting on the backing of Ferguson, Arsène Wenger and Jose Mourinho for the game in Geneva.

Wayne Rooney, Alan Smith and Rio Ferdinand should all be named in the England squad, barring any problems against Chelsea at Old Trafford tomorrow. But Ferguson must validate any withdrawals he makes with the Football Association under rules laid down by Fifa, the game's international governing body.