City stars seek to change Bridge's mind

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Manchester City's England contingent are trying to persuade team-mate Wayne Bridge to reverse his decision to quit the national side.

Bridge made himself unavailable for England selection last month following newspaper reports of an affair between his former girlfriend and his ex-Chelsea team-mate John Terry. Bridge said the alleged affair had made his position in the England set-up "untenable and potentially divisive" but his City team-mates have not given up hope of persuading him to change his mind in time for this summer's World Cup.

City and England midfielder Gareth Barry told the Sunday Times: "I'd like to see him go. Time can change people's opinions sometimes and hopefully that will happen with Wayne. He doesn't want to sit down in a few years' time and regret anything. World Cups don't come around too often and it might be a last time to do something, but I'll respect his decision. He's been to a World Cup before."

He added: "We'll have another go. I think there have already been conversations between the lads and Wayne and there could be a time when we see what he's thinking and may put our opinion across."

Barry admitted it even felt strange for him to return to the England set-up after the alleged affair - which led to Terry being stripped of the national team captaincy - had become public knowledge.

"It was a bit awkward for me but you have to put that aside because you're a professional," he added.

"You're going there to do a job and work with each other and you can't think about it too much. As professionals we got on with the job."

Bridge is set to be sidelined for a month in any case following a hernia operation, but his return to the England squad would be a boost for manager Fabio Capello. First-choice left-back Ashley Cole is fighting to overcome an ankle injury and other contenders like Stephen Warnock and Leighton Baines are lacking in international experience.

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Ashley Cole
John Terry
Manchester City
Wayne Bridge
Gareth Barry
Premier League
Stephen Warnock
Leighton Baines

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