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christopher birchall3.jpgChris Birchall is love sick these days. In love with football. But sick to the stomach after being left out of Trinidad and Tobago next two World Cup football qualifiers. The "Soca Warriors"-minus the Coventry City midfielder-are due to see action in two important World Cup qualifiers in the next week.
They play a home match against Guatemala next Saturday at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, before facing the United States on September 10 in Chicago. Birchall, who played the first half in T&T's 3-1 victory over Cuba on August 20, has apparently now made way for the return of former national captain Dwight Yorke.

The Englishman had looked T&T's most lively midfielder and set up the Soca Warriors first chance against Cuba. His diagonal cross in the opening five minutes picked out double goalscorer Keon Daniel, who in turn tried to square the ball towards lone striker Cornell Glen.

However, near the half, Birchall went down clutching his gut and was taken off as a result of stomach cramps. He was replaced by young Khaleem Hyland, who is now also out of the squad after picking up a red card against Cuba.

However, Hyland is available to play against the Americans. Englishman Birchall is not so much hurt by being dropped, but rather T&T's record goal-scorer.

John was dropped after scoring his 69 international goals in 104 international appearances following the match against Bermuda on June 22. Birchall believes that matter could have been handled in a better way.

"I received a text message saying my services aren't needed for the upcoming qualifier. No phone call," Birchall said when contacted by the Express.

He also wanted to clear the air on any rumour that he may be injured. Birchall says that he is fully fit, and ready to play football.

"I am not injured and I never was, "he insisted.

"I had food poisoning in Cuba. I came off because I was seconds away from fainting and couldn't breath, and had bad cramps.

"But, I tried to fight it as much as I could for the team but obviously that was not good enough for the Federation," Birchall said.

Meanwhile, Soca Warriors manager David Muhammad dismissed any notion that Birchall was left out because of injury.

Muhammad, who is already in Chicago making arrangements for the match against the USA, says that the choice of players is based on many factors. He said all these factors are discussed, before head coach Francisco Maturana decides which players he needs according to the opponents to be faced.

"It is not every time that a player is not selected, that we are going to issue an explanation," Muhammad said.

"This is just the squad that the coach wants at this time."

Muhammad said that to date, they had made several changes to the team's line-up, with players going out and being re-called for matches in which their talent is deemed necessary.

Muhammad mentioned that Toronto FC defender Julius James was getting a call to the national team for the first time and that changes were part of building a strong unit. Muhammad said in the end, just 18 players can be selected for an one game, thus someone will always be left out.