Aime Jacquet, the France coach, last night opened the door for Manchester United's Eric Cantona and Newcastle's David Ginola to force their way into his European Championship plans.
The pair looked to have been virtually ruled out of next summer's tournament in England when Jacquet left them out of his 17-man squad to face Portugal in Paris next Wednesday - the first of six friendlies leading up to the finals.
But Jacquet admitted: "Ginola and Cantona are of international calibre - I can't shunt them aside. But everything will depend on their output between now and Euro 96."
For the time being, Jacquet is prepared to stand by the younger players who replaced Cantona during his eight-month worldwide ban and helped France into the last 16. The French coach also accused Ginola of an attitude problem, claiming: "His behaviour is difficult to understand. He's a player of moods. I don't want that. I've always said I don't want moody players. If he comes, it's without dictating what happens. Then we'll see."
Cantona was appointed captain by Jacquet but was stripped of that when he received his suspension. "Why should I bring back Cantona when two young players of quality have so brilliantly taken part in our qualification?" Jacquet added. "Putting them aside now would be absurd. They are the players in a strong position."
In Cantona's absence, Paris St-Germain's Youri Djorkaeff - like Cantona, happy in either a striking or attacking midfield role - and the Bordeaux playmaker Zinedine Zidane have both produced superb displays.
Ilie Dumitrescu will end his Tottenham sojourn by joining London neighbours West Ham today in a pounds 1.5m deal. But after signing their second foreign international in a fortnight, West Ham must wait for the Romanian World Cup forward to be given a new British work permit, and that could take at least two more weeks.
The Croatian centre-back Slaven Bilic, who joined West Ham from the Bundesliga side, Karlsruhe, for a club record pounds 1.65m, is also awaiting a work permit applied for 10 days ago.
Mark Walters, the 32-year-old former England winger, has joined Southampton after being given a free transfer by Liverpool.
Bristol City directors yesterday promised a full inquiry after hundreds of ticket-holding fans were denied entry to Tuesday night's derby with Bristol Rovers at Ashton Gate, won 2-0 by Rovers. Those with tickets found queues blocking their way into the ground, and a female steward suffered a broken leg as gates were forced open.
The European Commission is to ask the governing body of European football, Uefa, to comply with the European Court of Justice's rulings on transfers and foreign players and would take "necessary measures" if Uefa did not do so. "Nobody in the [European] Union is above the law," a Commission spokesman said.
A Uefa spokesman responded by saying the limit of three foreigners and two "assimilated" players had "worked well in recent years, and we don't see the need to change it".Reuse content