Mancini: Bridge will play for England

Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini 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 now 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 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,” said the Italian.

“The national team is important. I have not spoken to him but I think, if he is picked, he will play.”

It already seems clear from Fabio Capello's actions that the England coach is not likely to plead with Bridge for him to turn up ahead of the Egypt game on March 3, the final warm-up before a provisional squad is named in May.

While Mancini has obviously spent time with the former Chelsea player and is able to assess his mood, the City boss is equally nonplussed as to why Bridge might consider turning his country down.

“He is committed to playing for England,” stressed Mancini.

“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 11.”

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,” said Mancini.

“But he has only just recovered and it still maybe at around 60%.”

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