Smith still a Lion

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Alan Smith has moved to quash suggestions that he is not committed to his country's cause.

Smith declined an offer to replace the injured Andrew Johnson in Sven Goran Eriksson's England squad to face Denmark in order to improve his fitness in a reserve game, a move that initially prompted the England coach to suggest that Smith preferred the Manchester United reserves to representing his country.

However, the former Leeds man is significantly short on match practice after he failed to play a full game in United's pre-season programme, and it is for this reason that Smith pulled out of the England reckoning.

Eriksson admitted on Tuesday that the mix-up over Smith's situation was 'a little bit my fault', and the Swede revealed that he was unaware of the player's lack of fitness when he attempted to call up the striker.

A statement released from Old Trafford this evening, with Smith's full consent, read:

"Prior to the initial squad announcement, United coaching staff spoke with Sven and The FA and it was agreed that Alan Smith would be left out of the squad so he could gain match fitness.

"It was then cleared that he would play in last night's reserve game at Bolton.

"It is by no means due to Alan Smith's lack of desire to play for England."