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England to hand man of the match vote to fans?

An X Factor-style selection process might be introduced to decide England's man of the match award, after all the controversy surrounding Steve Bruce's decision to pick substitute David Beckham in the final World Cup qualifier against Belarus last week.

ESPN Soccernet has been informed that England sponsors Nationwide are open to suggestions about a new system of selecting the man of the match, and that they would not object to fans texting in their votes.

It has been suggested that Nationwide have been annoyed with Bruce for causing so much controversy with his decision. But that is not the case.

The sponsors believe that the Sunderland manager was entitled to his opinion. They do not believe he was being vindictive against Peter Crouch, the two goal hero, because Crouch declined to sign for Sunderland.

Bruce has been so upset by the adverse publicity he has threatened to quit as a TV pundit.

There is clearly a problem when such a decision is the domain of an individual. There are moves to reconsider that position, as early as when England play their friendly against Brazil next month.

There has been speculation that Nationwide would want to return to the pool vote from the dozens of football writers in the press box. Again, well wide of the mark.

Even though the journalists invariably made a sensible call on the man of the match, it didn't attract nearly as much publicity and exposure as when it is announced by the broadcaster covering the game live.

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