Football: Hoddle calls up May as Ferguson compromises

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The Independent Online
There was an element of compromise and a degree of muscle-flexing from Glenn Hoddle yesterday as he reacted to the first withdrawals from his squad for next Saturday's friendly with Mexico.

Alhough he also lost Darren Anderton and, effectively, Matt Le Tissier, Hoddle's main negotiations were with Manchester United. After Alex Ferguson announced that, contrary to Hoddle's request, David Beckham, Gary Pallister and Gary Neville would not even be joining the party to be examined, Hoddle got on the phone. He called up David May and talked Ferguson into letting Neville travel. If his ankle does not respond to treatment, brother Phil will replace him.

Ferguson did have good news for one international manager. Although he does not regard Ryan Giggs as fit, he will be allowing him to join Bobby Gould's Welsh squad for Saturday's World Cup qualifier with Belgium. Giggs has a hamstring injury and, Ferguson said, "they have seven days to get him fit".

May's call-up is well-deserved. After a difficult start at Old Trafford he has emerged as one of the key players in their quest for a domestic and European double. Quick in body and mind, he has a good temperament and a knack of scoring important goals.

Beckham, who was substituted during United's weekend win over Everton, has hamstring and ankle injuries. Gary Pallister, who also came off, has a groin problem. Both will stay in Manchester in an attempt to get fit for United's European Cup semi-final with Dortmund in 16 days' time.

Anderton, who did not play on Saturday, has a hamstring inury while Le Tissier, who needed an injection after completing Saturday's game, will report but expects to be sent back to Southampton. "Only a player knows if he is fit or not," Le Tissier said. "I feel I can't do myself justice and I have told Glenn Hoddle that. I probably wouldn't be playing for Southampton if we were safe."

With several other players carrying injuries, bruises to be assessed from yesterday's Wimbledon-Newcastle match, and Liverpool meeting Arsenal tonight, further call-ups are likely. The press have been asked to bring their boots to Tuesday's opening training session, this is apparently to test a new coaching aid but we live in hope.

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