Leading article: His country needs him

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Achilles famously withdrew to his tent and refused to take part in his team's war against Troy when his captain took a girl from him. The footballer Wayne Bridge is no Achilles. But to his tent he has retreated, announcing that he was ruling himself out from playing in England's squad in this summer's World Cup. "For the sake of the team," he said yesterday, through his lawyers, "I have decided not to put myself forward for selection."

Invoking the spirit of Captain Oates sacrificing himself for the greater good of his team -mates may be thought to be pushing things a bit for what, after all, is a highly personal quarrel over a former girlfriend. But then it's probably equally exaggerated to accuse Mr Bridge, as some have, of treason. So let us urge both sides to let bygones be bygones, and may the better team win when Bridge comes up against his rival John Terry in the Manchester City-Chelsea match tomorrow.

After all, Achilles went back to the battle eventually – even if it was because of the hurt done to his friend who had worn his shirt in his stead.