Football: Gascoigne and Hoddle set to play for Arsenal

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The Independent Online
Paul Gascoigne, once of Tottenham Hotspur, is set to don the red and white jersey of his former club's North London rival Arsenal, and he will even be paying for the privilege.

Gascoigne will join his fellow Tottenham past master Glenn Hoddle when he plays in Paul Merson's testimonial match against an International XI at Highbury on 8 May.

"We had asked Paul to play for just around 20 minutes or so because the insurance premium allowing him to play a full match was very expensive," said Frank McLintock, the captain of Arsenal's double-winning side in 1971. "But without a second's thought, Paul offered to pay half the amount in order for him to play a full game."

"That shows just how warm-hearted a man Gazza really is," added McLintock, who is honorary president of the Paul Merson Testimonial Trust.

It was also confirmed yesterday that the former Arsenal manager George Graham will be at the match, his first return to Highbury since being sacked by the club for accepting illegal payments.

Other players in the International XI, none of whom have asked for a fee, include Ruud Gullit, Matthew Le Tissier and Charlie Nicholas.

n Eric Cantona is unlikely to play for France in this summer's European Championships in England despite being praised by the French national coach, Aime Jacquet, for his current performances.