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By ESPN Staff

Jewell explains Kirkland withdrawal from England

Wigan manager Paul Jewell insists Chris Kirkland fully appreciates the reasons why he was withdrawn from the England squad.

With the Latics fighting a relegation battle, Jewell decided in the interests of the team it would be better for Kirkland not to figure in Wednesday's friendly against Spain.

Citing a slight shoulder injury, Jewell pulled England's deputy to number one Paul Robinson out of manager Steve McClaren's squad.

Kirkland will play against Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday.

'If we had been in a comfortable position in the table then Chris would have joined up with England,' said Jewell.

'Although his shoulder is now okay, we didn't want to risk him at this stage given the situation we're in.

'He understands the club comes first, as I'm sure Steve McClaren does. Having been a club manager he knows what it is like.

'Chris is now focused on making sure he is okay for us.'

Kirkland kept his first clean sheet for two months in last week's 1-0 home victory over Portsmouth, a result that finally ended the Latics' wretched run of nine successive defeats.