Chelsea brothers still want to play for Philippines

Two Philippines brothers skipped the inaugural Asian Football Confederation Challenge Cup in Bangladesh this month because they were worried about losing their reserve team places at English Premier League champions Chelsea. "If there was a chance I might lose my reserve team place, I wasn't going to risk it," 18-year-old striker Philip Younghusband told Talal Malik of Reuters. Midfielder James Younghusband, 19, added: "Last time, me and my brother played for the Philippines we weren't really in the [Chelsea reserve] team much - we found it hard to get back into it."

At the April 1-16 international tournament, the Philippines were knocked out after drawing two matches and losing one. "Maybe if the forward from Chelsea, the younger Younghusband was there, probably he could have scored and helped the team," said Jose Marcelina Carpio, deputy acting general secretary for the Philippine Football Federation. "Their level of football is different than other players in terms of maturity."

The brothers feel playing in qualifiers next November for the ASEAN Football Championships should not jeopardise their Chelsea commitments but might satisfy Philippine fans. "Don't think we've ignored the Philippines because we haven't gone to this tournament," Philip said. "There were concerns and we didn't want to risk it but we'll be playing soon hopefully."