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Essien rules out Wembley comeback for Ghana

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ACCRA (Reuters) -- Michael Essien says he will return to international football, after more than a year without playing for Ghana, but not against England at Wembley next month.

The Chelsea midfielder's return, after he requested a break to concentrate on his club career, has been the subject of intense speculation in recent days but Essien rebuffed stories that he would line up in March after some 15 months away from his national team.

"I don't want Ghanaians to believe these stories and then in March be disappointed that I am not in the team," he said on his website (

"I will definitely return to the team at some point in the future, however it won't be for the upcoming games."

Essien, 28, said he had a brief telephone discussion with Ghana's new coach Goran Stevanovic. "I told him I will definitely return to the Ghana squad but we didn't talk about dates and I didn't tell him I was available to play in March," Essien added.

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Ghana, ranked 15th in the world, play Congo in an African Nations Cup qualifier in Brazzaville on March 27 and face England two days later.

"When I decided to take a break I knew some Ghanaians would be disappointed but I felt at the time it was the right decision after two horrible injuries."

Essien suffered a serious anterior cruciate ligament injury in September 2008 while playing against Libya and was out for six months. He again hurt his knee at the Nations Cup finals in Angola in January last year and missed the World Cup in South Africa, where the Black Stars reached the quarter-finals.

He has not played for Ghana since earning his 50th cap against the Ivory Coast in Cabinda on Jan. 15, 2010.

"Of course I'll be at Wembley to support the team. I am a Black Stars supporter like any other player. I predict Ghana to win," he added.