Football: Hoddle happy to call up `victimised' Wright

No wonder Ian Wright thinks he is unfairly singled out by referees, the two most important men in his life, the Arsenal manager, Arsene Wenger, and England's coach, Glenn Hoddle, keep telling him he is.

Wright, apparently, can jump from the team bench, run 40 yards to confront a referee, and have to be physically restrained from attacking an opponent, as happened at Leicester on Wednesday, and still regard himself as "picked on" if he is reported for his behaviour.

That was Hoddle's argument yesterday as he selected Wright for England's 10 September World Cup qualifying tie with Moldova. Hoddle implicitly criticised his own employers, the FA, for backing the referee, Graham Barber, in charging Wright with misconduct after the Filbert Street affray.

"I have watched the video and don't think there is much of a case there," Hoddle said. "There is no law in football that says you can't re-enter the pitch after the game. He was one of seven or eight people who did but he's been picked out. There were five players around the ref yet everyone is talking about him. It is over the top. He came off that pitch in a controlled manner."

A shame, then, that he went on it in such an uncontrolled mood. Hoddle did concede that "it would have been the sensible thing to have stayed off the pitch" but added "he was picked upon because he was Ian Wright. [Marc] Overmars came from the bench and said more things to the ref than Wright but he was not charged because he's not Ian Wright. Why wasn't every other player who came on the pitch reported? There was a skirmish but it was not a major issue, I've seen that sort of thing happen on occasions. In many ways he was provoked.

"He is working at controlling his anger and is getting better. He's been perfect with England. If he had run on the pitch and smacked someone in the mouth or hit the ref he would not be in the squad but he didn't. As his case won't be dealt with for weeks it would be unprofessional to leave him out."

Hoddle would not be drawn on whether he would be prepared to act as a character witness when the case is heard but the FA will hardly be oblivious of his views - their director of public affairs was sitting next to Hoddle when he made them. Hoddle said he would be talking to Wright when the England squad meet and gave a strong indication that he would play when he added: "He is probably the in the best form of anyone in the Premiership."

On recent evidence he is not even the most in-form player in Arsenal's forward line but his call-up is justified if not Hoddle's defence. More surprising is the selection of Aston Villa's Stan Collymore, last capped by Terry Venables, ahead of Chris Sutton of leaders Blackburn.

"We have a big man in Les Ferdinand but Sutton is in my thoughts and may come in if there are injuries," Hoddle said. "I've seen Stan twice and he's played well. He gives you something different, he has a gift inside him." So far only Barry Fry and Frank Clark have released that genie but one can understand Hoddle trying.

Rovers' revival has earned one Blackburn player a call-up, Stuart Ripley, who won his only previous cap against San Marino in Graham Taylor's last match as manager four years ago. He takes the place that Steve McManaman might have expected. Hoddle was unhappy when McManaman missed Le Tournoi de France in the summer, but he insisted that was not the reason, it was because "McManaman has had a lot on his plate recently."

Two teenagers, Rio Ferdinand and Emile Heskey, have been called up, although Heskey will swap to the under-21s if the senior strikers avoid weekend injury. With Sol Campbell likely to drop out, a further player, possibly his Tottenham team-mate John Scales, will be called up after the weekend.

As Paul Ince is suspended, and Alan Shearer, Tony Adams and Stuart Pearce injured, a fifth captain will be required for Hoddle's 12th match. Perhaps, following Roy Keane's successful appointment at Old Trafford, Hoddle will choose Wright.

More football, pages 26 and 27


(for World Cup Group Two qualifier, v Moldova, Wembley, 10 Sept)

Seaman (Arsenal), Walker (Tottenham), Martyn (Leeds); G Neville (Manchester United), Southgate (Aston Villa), Pallister (Manchester United), R Ferdinand (West Ham), Campbell (Tottenham), Le Saux (Chelsea), P Neville (Manchester United); Batty (Newcastle), Butt (Manchester United), Beckham (Manchester United), Gascoigne (Rangers), Scholes (Manchester United), Lee (Newcastle), Ripley (Blackburn); Sheringham (Manchester United), L Ferdinand (Tottenham), Wright (Arsenal), Collymore (Aston Villa), Heskey (Leicester).

One extra player to be added to the squad after Premier League matches at the weekend.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Latest in Sport
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service / Sales Advisor - Print

£14000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Based just north of York, this ...

Recruitment Genius: SEO Account Manager

£15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An SEO Account Manager is requi...

SThree: Associate Recruitment Consultant - Global Leader - FTSE 250

£18000 - £23000 per annum + competitive: SThree: As an Associate Recruitment C...

Recruitment Genius: Field Sales Representative

£22000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This family run school photogra...

Day In a Page

Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most
Katy Perry prevented from buying California convent for $14.5m after nuns sell to local businesswoman instead

No grace of God for Katy Perry as sisters act to stop her buying convent

Archdiocese sues nuns who turned down star’s $14.5m because they don’t approve of her
Ajmer: The ancient Indian metropolis chosen to be a 'smart city' where residents would just be happy to have power and running water

Residents just want water and power in a city chosen to be a ‘smart’ metropolis

The Indian Government has launched an ambitious plan to transform 100 of its crumbling cities
Michael Fassbender in 'Macbeth': The Scottish play on film, from Welles to Cheggers

Something wicked?

Films of Macbeth don’t always end well - just ask Orson Welles... and Keith Chegwin
10 best sun creams for body

10 best sun creams for body

Make sure you’re protected from head to toe in the heatwave
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon files

Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games
Women's World Cup 2015: How England's semi-final success could do wonders for both sexes

There is more than a shiny trophy to be won by England’s World Cup women

The success of the decidedly non-famous females wearing the Three Lions could do wonders for a ‘man’s game’ riddled with cynicism and greed
How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map