England bring Ince back into the fold

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The Independent Online

Terry Venables yesterday restored Paul Ince to his first squad of this European Championship year, but still found no place for Matthew Le Tissier.

The 25-man party which will assemble for a "get-together" at Bisham Abbey from next Sunday until the following Thursday includes only one player who has never featured in an England squad. Alan Wright, Aston Villa's left-sided wing-back, fills the vacancy caused by Graeme Le Saux's injury.

Other uncapped fringe candidates given the chance to impress Venables in the countdown to the finals in June include the Villa defender Ugo Ehiogu, and the Tottenham utility player Sol Campbell.

Ince has not played for England since the abandoned match in Dublin a year ago next month. The former Manchester United midfielder, now with Internazionale, was left out when he became embroiled in a court case following Eric Cantona's assault on a spectator at Crystal Palace. He then incurred Venables' displeasure by dropping out of the Umbro Cup in June.

"I've said right the way through that Paul has been in my thoughts," said Venables, who is in Poland today sorting out England's World Cup fixtures. "But he needed time to settle and in the end needed more time than I thought."

At 5ft 4in, Wright may be one of the smallest players to enter the England reckoning in the post-war era. The 24-year-old, capped at schoolboy, youth and Under-21 level, joined Villa for pounds 1m last March after losing his Blackburn place to Le Saux. Ironically, Le Saux's misfortune means Wright now has the opportunity to challenge Stuart Pearce for the left-back spot.

The continued omission of Le Tissier, despite a meeting on Monday between Venables and the Southampton manager, Dave Merrington, confirms that the Channel Islander is highly unlikely to make the final squad of 20. Stan Collymore is also left out, although the neglect of his Liverpool co-striker, Robbie Fowler, is more surprising. Another Villa player, Mark Draper, can count himself unfortunate.

ENGLAND SQUAD: Seaman (Arsenal), Walker (Tottenham), Flowers (Blackburn); G Neville (Man Utd), Jones (Liverpool), Adams (Arsenal), Howey (Newcastle), Southgate (Aston Villa), Ehiogu (Aston Villa), Wright (Aston Villa), Pearce (Nottingham Forest), Campbell (Tottenham); Gascoigne (Rangers), Platt (Arsenal), Lee (Newcastle), Ince (Internazionale), Stone (Nottingham Forest), Sinclair (QPR); McManaman (Liverpool), Wise (Chelsea); Ferdinand (Newcastle), Beardsley (Newcastle), Barmby (Middlesbrough), Sheringham (Tottenham), Shearer (Blackburn).