EAGLES' AXE ON ODEMWINGIE SHOCKS WEST BROM'S MANAGER
Roy Hodgson yesterday revealed 'surprise' at Peter Odemwingie's axing by Nigeria as Albion headed for Newcastle without its leading scorer.
Hodgson said the dispute between Odemwingie and his international manager that saw the Baggies' forward dropped for two matches in June took the player and Hawthorns officials 'totally and utterly by surprise'.
And the head coach revealed Odemwingie was already back in Russia having been earlier released for his summer break.
Nigerian Coach, Samson Siasia, dropped the 29-year-old from a friendly against Argentina and an Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Ethiopia next month, accusing him of leaving a training camp in March without permission ahead of a friendly with Kenya.
But Hodgson said: 'I am not aware of any dispute and his agent is not aware of any dispute. Where this has come from, I have no idea.
'I presumed if they released him (in March), it was because they felt they could spare him.
'It is something that has taken us totally and utterly by surprise and I'm pretty sure it would have taken Peter by surprise because when we were discussing these matches, his only talk was that he was hoping to be able to miss the friendlies and just play the qualifiers.'
The 15-goal top scorer will miss tomorrow's final game of the season at Newcastle along with Gabriel Tamas after the pair were released early for the summer by Hodgson, who said: 'Peter won't play in this game for a variety of reasons. 'He's got an ankle problem that we have been nursing but equally important is the fact he has played a year and a half's football without getting a break and has the chance to see his mother in Moscow.
'Gabi has a slight knock and then he is playing through the summer with Romania. His holiday, had he stayed until the end of this week, would have been two and a half weeks whereas everyone else is looking at four and a half or five, so it made sense to let him go.'
Pablo Ibanez or Abdoulaye Meite will replace Tamas, while Ishmael Miller or Marc-Antoine Fortune will step in for Odemwingie.