Anglo-French cup rivalry: Patrice Evra ‘happy’ that injury rules out Manchester United teammate Chris Smalling from England Euro 2012 team

By Dean Wilkins

Manchester United stand-in captain Patrice Evra is ‘happy’ that his teammate Chris Smalling will not play for England in Euro 2012.

The French left-back admitted that the loss for Roy Hodgson’s side will be a big boost for his country ahead of their first tournament fixture on June 11.

Evra said he had mixed emotions about Smalling’s groin injury which ruled the 22-year-old out of Sunday’s match against Sunderland and this summer’s championship.

“It’s a huge blow,” Evra told

“Chris is one of the strongest defenders we have at United. I’m really sad for him but, to be fair, I’m happy he won’t play against me and France in the Euros!

“I have to be honest. When he told me he was injured and would miss the game against Sunderland, I said: ‘No Chris, we need you’.

“And then he told me he’d also miss the Euros and I just said, ‘Thanks! Well done!’ You always have to find the silver lining.”

It is not all bad news for new England manager Roy Hodgson though, Sir Alex Ferguson did confirm that Danny Welbeck would be available for England, even though he is recovering from an ankle injury.

Chelsea’s John Terry is tipped to take the injured Smalling’s place in England’s Euro 2012 squad.

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