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Wednesday, May 19, 2004 

Markov finds the right blend

Bulgaria coach Plamen Markov has named an experienced 23-man squad for UEFA EURO 2004™ but has also given youth a chance.

Bojinov chance
The most notable name in Markov's list is the 18-year-old US Lecce striker Valeri Bojinov, who has impressed at Under-21 level. Celtic FC midfield player Stilian Petrov will captain the side, which does not include Charlton Athletic FC defender Radostin Kishishev despite speculation about him coming out of retirement. Instead, PFC Lokomotiv Plovdiv right-back Vladimir Ivanov retains his place after performing well against Cameroon last month.

High hopes
"Valeri Bojinov has started to show his qualities at US Lecce. He is young and one for the future," said Markov. "I have taken some hard decisions. There is always pressure on me."

Kamburov out
Another absentee is PFC CSKA Sofia captain Todor Yanchev although he had been a regular member of the squad during the qualifying campaign while domestic top scorer Martin Kamburov, of Loko Plovdiv, has not been named. However, Georgi Chilikov is included after some encouraging recent displays. "Martin Kamburov and Georgi Chilikov are different types of players," Markov said. "There has never been a dilemma for me about them."

Contract expiring
Injury has kept out Portsmouth FC forward Svetoslav Todorov as he requires further surgery on his injured knee. Markov added that a decision would be made soon on his long-term plans. "My contract with Bulgarian Football Union is due to expire on 30 June and my future will be sorted out after EURO 2004," he said.

Bulgaria squad

Zdravko Zdravkov (PFC Litex Lovech)
Dimitar Ivankov (PFC Levski Sofia)
Stoyan Kolev (PFC CSKA Sofia)

Vladimir Ivanov (PFC Lokomotiv Plovdiv)
Rosen Kirilov (PFC Litex Lovech)
Kiril Kotev (PFC Lokomotiv Plovdiv)
Ivailo Petkov (Fenerbahçe SK))
Predrag Pazin (FC Shakhtar Donetsk)
Ilian Stoyanov (PFC Levski Sofia)
Zlatomir Zagorcic (PFC Litex Lovech)

Daniel Borimirov (Levski Sofia)
Velizar Dimitrov (PFC CSKA Sofia)
Marian Hristov (1. FC Kaiserslautern)
Martin Petrov (VfL Wolfsburg)
Stilian Petrov (Celtic FC)
Georgi Peev (FC Dynamo Kyiv)
Milen Petkov (AEK Athens FC)

Dimitar Berbatov (Bayer 04 Leverkusen)
Valeri Bojinov (US Lecce)
Georgi Chilikov (PFC Levski Sofia)
Zoran Jankovic (Dalian Shide)
Zdravko Lazarov (Gaziantepspor)
Vladimir Manchev (Lille OSC)

Source: uefa.com


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