Ince cleared for England duty

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Paul Ince, the Manchester United midfielder, has been given the go-ahead to resume his England career after being cleared of threatening Crystal Palace supporters. Ince had denied one charge of assault by beating and a second allegation of using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour.

The verdicts at Croydon Magistrates' Court vindicated Terry Venables' decision to include Ince in his Umbro Cup squad on Tuesday - a calculated gamble which underlined his faith in the United star's innocence.

A spokeswoman for the Football Association said: "As Terry said, it was always going to be a matter for the courts, and we're very pleased the matter has been resolved." Ince's agent, Steve Kutner, said: "Paul is very pleased to be back in the England set-up."

Alex Ferguson, the United manager, was also in court to support Ince, and said he was a fantastic footballer and a very big influence on the club. Ferguson agreed Ince had a short fuse, "but it was one that never resulted in physical violence."

United's assistant secretary, Ken Ramsden, said: "Our reaction is one of delight and relief, especially for Paul and Clare [his wife]. It has overshadowed the club, although we have been very busy with the championship run-in and FA Cup final.

"There's been tremendous support for him and we've all been very much behind him, but we're all so relieved it's over. It's gone on for a long time.

"Now he can concentrate on the summer and, before that, the Umbro international tournament and the England team. It must be a great bonus for him and I'm sure he is looking forward to the international games coming up."

Ince will now focus on winning a place in the England starting line-up against Japan on 3 June at Wembley. Brazil and Sweden are also involved in the tournament.