Blow for Azkals: Etheridge out of AFF Suzuki Cup
MANILA, Philippines - Bad news for the Philippine Azkals only days before the AFF Suzuki Cup.
Goalkeeper Neil Etheridge has been recalled by his mother club Fulham and will not be playing in the tournament despite being cleared by his current side Bristol Rovers, the English League Two club said on Wednesday, November 21.
"We have also had to say goodbye to Neil Etheridge, who has been recalled by his parent club Fulham. I should like to thank him for all his efforts whilst he has been with us, and wish him all the very best in his career," Bristol Rovers Chairman Nick Higgs announced on the club's official website.
Rovers can confirm that @neil38etheridge has been recalled by Fulham.— Bristol Rovers (@Official_BRFC) November 21, 2012
The news came only a few hours after Bristol Rovers had given the green light for the 22-year-old keeper to join the Azkals in Bangkok, where they face regional powerhouse Thailand in their first game on Sunday.
Etheridge was on a one-month loan to Bristol Rovers from English Premier League club Fulham FC until September 20, but he extended his contract until Christmas to help improve side’s standing in the league, where Rovers are currently at the bottom of the table facing relegation.
The Filipino has kept only one clean in 12 games for his current club.
However, Fulham's Dutch Manager Martin Jol decided for him to return to the Premier League in case reserve keeper David Stockdale leaves the side before the transfer market closes in a few weeks.
Neither Stockdale nor first-choice Australian Mark Schwarzer are currently injured.
Without Etheridge, the Azkals goal will presumably be defended at the AFF Suzuki Cup by Ed Sacapaño, who had a brilliant performance in the 1-0 victory over Singapore in a friendly game last week in Cebu. - Rappler.com