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50-50: Liverpool vs. Real Madrid

Champions League 10 hours ago
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By ESPN Staff
Aug 15, 2007

Carragher declines McClaren's Euro2008 invite

England manager Steve McClaren has confirmed Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher has decided not to return to international football.

The centre-back has deliberated long and hard over his original decision to ask not to be considered for his country.

McClaren made a personal visit to Liverpool's training ground on Monday for a face-to-face meeting with Carragher, but the situation remained the same, with the tough defender politely declining a request to change his mind.

McClaren told a press conference, televised by Sky Sports News: 'I met Jamie on Monday and had a very good conversation but unfortunately he's stayed with the decision to not be involved with us.

'We respect that, Jamie has been a fantastic servant for England.

'I won't close the door, who knows in the future.' McClaren did not say he would never consider Carragher again and also admitted Sol Campbell could return to the England team.

He added on Sky Sports News: 'I'm not ruling out anybody at the moment.'

McClaren admits losing Wayne Rooney to injury is 'a big blow' but believes his squad can cope without the Manchester United striker.

The 21-year-old is out for two months after suffering a hairline fracture of his left foot in United's opening Premier League game against Reading and will miss the friendly against Germany and more importantly the Euro 2008 qualifiers against Israel and Russia.

McClaren accepts Rooney is a key player but sees no reason why the team cannot still get the right results in his absence.

'It's a blow because he was looking so fit and well in pre-season, so obviously it's a big blow. He is an important player for England and I was disappointed to get the phone call but by Monday morning I had to move on. We have always had to do that in the past and we'll do it again.

'We had a positive summer against Albania (a B international), Brazil (a friendly) and Estonia (a qualifier) where we gave fringe players a game, and we did that without Wayne.'

McClaren revealed he had spoken to Michael Owen, who is on his way back from a thigh injury following on from a long-term knee problem which sidelined him for the majority of last season.

He told Sky Sports News: 'I spoke to him on Tuesday, he was very buoyant, of course he is frustrated to be injured.

'He's got a few more days' training, I think he plays in a friendly behind closed doors today and at the weekend. There are a few of those players (in the same situation).'

McClaren has every confidence that England have enough firepower without Rooney to score the vital goals to get their flagging qualification campaign back on track.

'We've still got Peter Crouch, Owen may be available and there is also the likes of Alan Smith, Darren Bent, Andy Johnson, Jermain Defoe and David Nugent, players like that who have played for England and have proved that they can play at this level.'

Former captain David Beckham will continue his international comeback against Germany in next week's friendly providing his rehabilitation from an ankle injury continues without further setbacks.

McClaren, who travelled to the States to see the Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder recently, said: 'We've got to assess it over the next few days. He'll be in the squad, we want him to come over and play a part against Germany but it all depends on what happens this evening (when Galaxy face DC United in the SuperLiga).

'We'll be keeping in close contact with him and the Galaxy medical staff to see his condition.

'If at all possible of course we'd like David to join us on Monday.'

The England manager revealed he is looking forward to next week's game with England's old rivals and insists both sides will be taking the game seriously.

He added: 'It's a great friendly. Is there ever a friendly against Germany? I think for anyone who puts on an England shirt it's not a friendly. They want to win the game and we do and we will be preparing from Monday morning to do exactly that.'

Former England boss Sven-Goran Eriksson recently admitted he had been forced to sign foreign players because English ones were too expensive, leading to doubts again being raised over the future prospects of young homegrown players.

But while McClaren admits there will always be room for more young English players in the game he rejected suggestions foreign players have ruined the domestic game.

He said: 'Foreign players have been very, very good for our game. They have really heightened the profile, they have really improved the quality. But as the England manager with my England hat on yes we would like greater depth, yes we would like greater quality.

'I think there are certain initiatives to make sure have that in the future we have got that. We still have top players in the world in our league and they are English.'