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Brooking: West Ham's Ashton ready for England

West Ham legend and FA chief Sir Trevor Brooking is backing Dean Ashton for an England breakthrough.

"Deano has been out for over a year, which is a long time, and has only been playing again for the last three games," said Brooking. "We all know he has got ability, he has just got to work on that match fitness, do it consistently and get that sharpness back to get the spring and the confidence.

"After a long time out, that will take a bit of time. The balancing act is as to when the right time is for him.

"Everyone is aware that when you go into the England side where you play a game, whoever you are, you will have to perform.

"So you have got to be sure Dean is fully fit and raring to go."

Brooking knows the spotlight will soon again be on squad selection for the national team.

"There is going to be a lot of debate about who should play and who should not," he said. "The disappointment of somebody means an opportunity for somebody else.

"Hopefully the players will respond if they are given the chance."

Brooking added: "Steve McClaren, though, is the one to say who should be in - and I am sure you will have about eight different strikers put forward.

"Probably last time, Emile was not high on many people's suggested list, but Steve came up with him and showed a lot of courage."

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Tribal Football Staff

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