Hoddle aims to play from the heart

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The Independent Online
It aged Bobby Robson and subjected Graham Taylor to many a cruel lampoon - so it was perhaps understandable that Glenn Hoddle looked pensive and grimly determined as he was presented yesterday as the next coach of the England football team.

At 38, Hoddle is the youngest man to be given the task of establishing England as one of the world's leading teams once again.

"My ambition is to be successful, playing in a manner which is close to my heart and I believe to the public's heart as well," said Hoddle, who as an eight-year-old made a banner to parade around the streets of his home town of Harlow, Essex, proclaiming England's World Cup victory in 1966.

It is the qualifying campaign for the 1998 World Cup finals in France that will be his immediate concern wheh he inherits the job from Terry Venables after this summer's European Championship in England.

"We believe that Glenn has a similar football philosophy to Terry and that's a big plus," Graham Kelly, the Football Association's chief executive, said when announcing the appointment at a news conference in a west London hotel.

Hoddle, who made his name playing for Tottenham Hotspur in the late Seventies and early Eighties, was widely regarded as the most gifted footballer of his generation. Although he played 53 times for England that was nothing like as many international appearances as his many admirers, at home and abroad, thought he should have made.

At the time it was often suggested that the England team should have been built around his ability to direct play with his easy, graceful style and perceptive passing. As Hoddle said yesterday: "If Terry had been manager when I was playing, I think I would have won a lot more caps - he would have brought out the best in me."

After five years in football club management, having had some success in cup competitions with Chelsea, he now has the opportunity to bring out the best in England's current crop of players.

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