FA: We made the right choice

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Football News

The Football Association dismissed the possibility of playing Holland behind closed doors at Wembley on Wednesday night.

With the Metropolitan Police confirming their resources would be too stretched trying to restore order after three nights of rioting in the capital, it quickly became apparent the high-profile friendly against the World Cup runners-up could not go ahead as planned.

There was though an outside chance Brent Council would have granted a safety certificate for a game to be played behind closed doors but Club England managing director Adrian Bevington said: "Anyone who has played in a closed-doors game comments about what a hollow, meaningless experience it is."

He added: "That is before we start making calls to the Dutch to ask if they would have been prepared to do it. Then you have the issues over sponsors, broadcasters, clubs.

"There are so many factors to consider without getting into the safety issue. I don't see how that could have happened."

Instead, the Dutch Federation were told to call off their trip before boarding a bus due to take them to Amsterdam Airport.

Of all the players affected, Manchester United midfielder Tom Cleverley was damaged the most.

The loss of Jack Wilshere, Frank Lampard and Michael Carrick to injury meant Fabio Capello only had four central midfielders to choose from even after drafting Cleverley into his squad.

That the 21-year-old then partnered Scott Parker in a full-on match in the training session England were able to complete only heightened the likelihood Capello would have handed the Red Devil his senior debut.

Instead, England's players were released back to their clubs on Tuesday afternoon, with Capello doubtless hoping the good turn ahead of the opening round of Premier League fixtures will earn him a few favours in return later in the season.

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

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Scott Parker
Premier League
Michael Carrick
Manchester United
Jack Wilshere
Tom Cleverley

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