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Football in brief: 06/06/2009

Worthington gives Irish youth chance to impress against Italy

Coach Nigel Worthington has called on his youthful squad to prove they deserve a place in his future plans by impressing against world champions Italy today.

Worthington is to give at least four members of his 18-man squad their senior debuts in tonight's friendly in Pisa and says it is up to them to make a good impression and give him a selection headache for the future. ''For some of the youngsters, this is a great opportunity and a challenge,'' he said. ''Steve Carson and Colin Coates are getting a start and it is great for them and for Irish league players. When it comes to picking a senior group, you possibly look at 18 to 22 or 23 players and, while there are the mainstays, there are two or three positions where people can work their way into the group.'' Worthington has confirmed that all 18 members of his squad are fit and available.

Injury forces Iniesta out of Spain squad

Andres Iniesta pulled out of Spain's squad for the Confederations Cup yesterday after tests confirmed the Barcelona midfielder's thigh muscle injury as serious. ''He's not in condition to take part in the competition,'' said the Spanish Football Federation doctor Oscar Celada. ''There is a strong chance of a relapse. He already had one in the Champions League final and we don't want another. He will leave now. He could be out for six to eight weeks but that is for Barça's medical team to decide.'' Valencia midfielder Pablo Hernandez will replace Iniesta.

Essien available for Ghana after court case

Chelsea midfielder Michael Essien is available for Ghana's World Cup qualifier against Mali despite missing preparations for the match to attend a court case. Essien has completed his cross examination in a case in which his ex-girlfriend is seeking to clarify the status of their relationship in a divorce compensation claim. It was initially thought Essien's testimony in Accra could take several days and stop him from making the trip to Mali for tomorrow’s African Zone game.

Tranmere sack Moore over play-off failure

The club have sacked manager Ronnie Moore in the wake of the club's failure to reach the Coca-Cola League One play-offs. Moore joined Rovers in June 2006 but attendances at Prenton Park have dropped by over 19 per cent during the last three years and the club have decided to make a change. Tranmere chairman Peter Johnson said: ''I'd like to thank Ronnie for his services to the club over the last three seasons and to wish him well for the future.''