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Rafa launches Carra defence

11 Jul 2007 - 13:22:18

Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez has leapt to the defence of Jamie Carragher and urged fans to respect his decision to quit international football.

The 29-year-old defender has decided to turn his back on England after failing to earn a regular starting place in sides named by first Sven-Goran Eriksson and now Steve McClaren.

Carragher decided to call time on his international career after being overlooked for in favour of Ledley King for the Euro 2008 qualifier against Estonia, despite the Spurs defender only just returning from injury.

But Benitez has defended Carragher's decision which has led to criticism from some quarters.

"In any situation like this we need to think about what's best for the player, the club and the country," he told the club's official website.

"If the player is physically and mentally fit to play in every game, it's naturally better for his career and the country or club he's playing for.

"That's what Carra is thinking about because I know he is someone who never gives less than 100 per cent.

"Everyone knows he is a fantastic professional who wants to perform at the very best level possible in every game he plays.

"We must all respect any decision he makes, because it is certain he is thinking about what's good for everyone."

Carragher has won 34 international caps, with his last appearance coming in the 1-1 friendly draw with Brazil last month at the new Wembley Stadium.


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