It is very sad to read that Manchester City left back Wayne Bridge has withdrawn from England’s World Cup, because as he says “I believe my position in the squad is untenable.”
As much as this is understandable, it is also quite incredible.
There have been over the years many cases of players playing alongside players that they did not like. One example in recent times Andy Cole and Teddy Sherringham at Manchester United, but they still managed to play alongside each other. Romario and Bebeto of Brazil would not talk to each other yet won a World Cup Winners medal. In the 80’s we recall one Italian player’s wife left him and married a teammate, yet they still managed to play together.
So why has Bridge’s position become untenable especially when he had supposedly broken up with Ms Perroncel?
Dare we say that the media scrutiny and intrusion into what is a very uncomfortable situation has made it untenable?
Had he decided to continue his England career and shake hands with John Terry and say something along the lines of “ I may not like you, and I may not forgive you, but I am prepared to play alongside you,” one can be sure that the media would have had cameras trained on the pair of them. If one as much as shouted for the other to mark a man in the box, it would be that they were arguing over past sins.
Bridge has behaved in a way not many players would have done. He has shelved his personal World Cup dreams for the good of the team. Not easy to do when you are good enough to be there, and everyone dreams of playing at a World Cup, and when you add in the fact that England have a chance.
The question is with Ashley Cole in doubt, and Bridge pulling out, has this over the top media scrutiny exposed an Achilles heel for England that could harm their chances in South Africa, the left back position?
There is no doubt John Terry should have kept his fly done up, but the scrutiny that the media have given the issue is more than the story warrants, and has possibly damaged the chances of obtaining what the country so desperately wants an international success on the football pitch.