Players chief Gordon Taylor has revealed how attempts to make peace between John Terry and Wayne Bridge failed after neither man volunteered to take part in talks.
Bridge announced on Thursday he would not be available for selection in Fabio Capello's World Cup squad for the finals in South Africa, saying his position in the team had become 'untenable and potentially divisive' after allegations of an affair between his ex-girlfriend and former Chelsea team-mate Terry.
Taylor was unaware of the Manchester City defender's decision, but insisted the Professional Footballers' Association (PFA) had done its utmost to try to bring about a resolution.
The left-back's withdrawal could throw Capello's plans for the finals into disarray, given the void left by injured Chelsea man Ashley Cole.
And despite admitting he was disappointed with the announcement, the 65-year-old called for Bridge's decision to be respected.
PFA chief executive Taylor said: "The PFA offered to help and contacted both parties with a view to acting as mediators, but neither came back to us. I am surprised and saddened that this matter could not be resolved.
"You have to respect Wayne's decision, and his wishes, but it is sad that it has come to this. I would have hoped that things could have been patched up for the sake of the professional careers of both Wayne and John Terry, as well as the England team."
The 29-year-old was widely anticipated to be the man to plug the gap left by Cole, but Three Lions boss Capello will now have to look for alternatives.
Aston Villa's Stephen Warnock and Everton's Leighton Baines have been earmarked as potential cover, although it provides another headache for the England chief, who also has fitness concerns over the likes of captain Rio Ferdinand and Glenn Johnson.
A patched up back four could hamper hopes of England ending their agonising wait for a second World Cup trophy, with Taylor insisting the PFA might have been able to resurrect the pair's fraught relationship in time for tournament's start in June.
He added: "I was just hoping that for the sake of their careers that things could be, if not patched up, put aside when they're on the field of play, particularly as they both deserve to be in the England squad."
Bridge, who played alongside Terry for six years whilst at Stamford Bridge, did not announce his international retirement, leaving the door open for a possible return after the World Cup.
Taylor said that part of being a footballer was working with team mates - irrespective of whether they got along or not - and that playing matters took priority.
He did, however, empathise with the former Southampton man, and added he was hopeful of seeing Bridge add to his 36 England caps in future.
Taylor told Sky Sports News: "Clearly on this occasion there have been difficulties and Wayne has found it hard to deal with at the moment, and has come to this decision. I hope there may be time in the future where he's able to reconsider it.
"I don't like to see bad blood between any of our members but that would be naive to think that wouldn't happen.
"Part of the job is getting on the field and focusing on the job and doing that job irrespective of whether you get on with your team-mates or not."