Date:Saturday June 9 2007
Blackburn Rovers Manager Mark Hughes has added his voice to the debate on David Bentley's withdrawal from the England European Under-21 Championships.
Stuart Pearce is not very happy (to put it mildly!) at Bentley's withdrawal (click here to see what he said) but Hughes is backing the decision.
Sparky told the official Blackburn Rovers website (brace yourself as there are no breaks in this statement!):
"David has told me he is exhausted and I completely understand.
"Although he takes representing his country very seriously indeed, David has barely had time to catch breath over the past 10 months and he clearly needs a rest.
"Having spoken to him and heard how tired he feels, I don't think he would do himself justice by taking part in the trip. If England were to reach the final of the competition it would mean David having just six days holiday between the two seasons and that would be an unsatisfactory situation for everyone involved.
"He is very keen to make progress on the England senior scene and he does not want to compromise his chances for next season by failing to take the necessary break now.
"I have spoken with Steve McClaren and Stuart Pearce on the issue and they know my views.
"Having managed Wales for five years and then spent close on three seasons with Rovers, I appreciate the various dilemmas surrounding club and country issues.
"Not once in my tenure at Ewood Park have I refused a player or a manager the opportunity to figure on the international stage, despite losing some key players to games in mid-season in places as far away as Australia and South America. Indeed, Brett Emerton will miss the whole of pre-season due to his involvement with Australia.
"I know we also have Matt Derbyshire in the England under 21 squad for the forthcoming trip, but Matt's case is totally different to David in terms of full games clocked up over the past season or so.
"The bottom line is that David requires some much-needed rest time in order to recover from the rigours and demands of what has been a demanding schedule.
"It is in his interests to get himself re-charged and we look forward to welcoming him back fully refreshed and ready for what is a very important pre-season for us, including a crucial Intertoto Cup fixture next month which is our passage into the UEFA Cup.
"It is important that common sense prevails, for the sake of England, Blackburn Rovers and, most importantly, David Bentley himself."
The fact that Sparky has already spoken out about his disapproval of Bentley being a part of this tournament (before Bents was even selected) is not really going to go in his or Rovers' favour, especially as Pearce has said Sparky asked for Bents to be withdrawn before the player withdrew himself.
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Date:Saturday June 9 2007
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