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Eriksson World Cup dilemma over Leeds pair

© Reuters 2002

LONDON (Reuters) - England coach Sven Goran Eriksson has revealed that he faces a moral dilemma over whether he should select Leeds United duo Lee Bowyer and Jonathan Woodgate for this year's World Cup. The two players will shortly be available for selection for the first time under the Swede, but Eriksson admits that he has yet decided what he should do.

After a much-publicised court case, Bowyer was cleared of all charges relating to the injuries inflicted on an Asian student while Woodgate has yet to complete the community service imposed for being found guilty of affray. Woodgate will not be available for next month's friendly against the Netherlands, but he will face no such restriction for the other warm-up games in the build up to the finals.

FA Chief executive Adam Crozier has stressed that Bowyer is available for the Dutch match, "but that's different from being selected". In Porto for Friday's Euro 2004 qualifying campaign draw, Eriksson talked openly about the Leeds players for the first time.

"If you just talk about football then they would be under my consideration of course, because they are very good footballers," he said. "I wish the decision was just about footballing reasons. I wish it was that easy, but when you are a national manager there are many things to think about."

Eriksson continued: "It's not easy, because whatever you decide you are bound to get criticised. If someone does something stupid you can't be angry forever.

"But if you are together for six or seven weeks, you need people who are going to behave. "Whatever decision we take over Bowyer and Woodgate we will get criticised and that is something we have to live with."

Crozier and Eriksson are expected to decide within the next few weeks over whether the two should be selected. "We need to make a decision because we need to plan for the summer in terms of who is or isn't available," Crozier said.

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