GARETH SOUTHGATE has set his sights on forgetting about his international heartbreak by leading out Middlesbrough against Liverpool on Saturday.

The experienced Boro captain had to pull out of the England squad which faced Denmark on Sunday after picking up a thigh strain.

Southgate had been overlooked by Sven-Goran Eriksson for the national team's four previous matches and he is running out of time to force his way into the Swede's reckoning for next summer's European Championships in Portugal.

But the 33-year-old is determined to put his disappointment to one side and concentrate on club football.

He said: "I had a thigh strain during the week leading up to the Aston Villa match.

"I had not been expecting to be called up. It was a shame for me that I had to miss it but it means I have been able to go in and get some extra physiotherapy during the international week.

"I would have liked to have been involved against Denmark because it was positive for me to be in the England squad again.

"But it's now important for Middlesbrough that I get fully fit."

The build up to the Denmark friendly at Old Trafford was surrounded in controversy regarding the rules governing the selection of England stars under police investigation.

Football Association chief executive Mark Palios has ordered an urgent review of the rules in light of the treatment of Nicky Butt, Alan Smith and James Beattie.

There was a breakdown in communications which led to Smith being sent home after the FA had learned that the striker had been arrested by police.

That followed the infamous drugs test missed by Rio Ferdinand during the build-up to the vital Euro 2004 qualifier against Turkey last month.

Southgate, who has 55 caps for his country, is confident the game's governing body and the players can soon resolve their differences.

"Things do look worse from the outside when you are looking in," he said. "Maybe it was better for me to be outside the squad this time, with everything going on, because next time I can go in and have more of an influence on events.

"The relations between the FA and the squad looks strained but I'm sure they will all pull together because everyone will want the situation to improve.

"The decisions being made are with the best intentions. There are enough experienced people in the squad to get the right decisions made."

Meanwhile, out-of-favour Boro midfielder Jonathan Greening is hoping to follow an example set by Juninho.

The little Brazilian was forced to watch from the bench for a number of games before being recalled to the starting line-up against Villa after showing a great attitude in training.

Greening has been in a similar situation, as manager Steve McClaren drafted in Doriva to strengthen his side's midfield.

Now the 24-year-old is ready to remain patient after not starting a Boro match since the defeat by Chelsea on October 5.

Greening said: "Juninho is a World Cup winner, the favourite of the fans out of all the players I would think, and the manager took a bit of stick when he left him out.

"It was probably the right thing to do at the time, but he has worked hard in training to get his place back and has been one of our better players in recent games.

"That's the attitude I have to show."

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