Football: Hoddle to make a six-a-side comeback

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The Independent Online
GLENN HODDLE will make his first public appearance since being sacked as the England coach when he plays for his old club Tottenham in a veterans' six-a-side tournament later this month. Hoddle will line up in a side who also feature the former England internationals Chris Waddle, Clive Allen and Gary Stevens in the Carling Masters at the London Arena on 24 March. It will be the first time Hoddle has worn a Spurs shirt since he played for the club in the 1987 FA Cup final defeat to Coventry. He was not in the original squad for the competition - which also features Arsenal, Charlton, Wimbledon, West Ham and Chelsea - but after his dismissal from the England job, he was asked to take part.

Mike Flynn, head of sponsorship for Bass Brewers, said: "There is not a football fan in the country who could have doubted Glenn's pedigree as a world-class player. The prospect of seeing his natural football skills again must surely excite the football community at large, let alone dedicated Spurs fans."

Another talent making a comeback on the field is the French international Eric Cantona, who turns out tonight in Johan Cruyff's testimonial at the Nou Camp. Cruyff, who as Barcelona coach guided the Catalans to their sole European Cup triumph in 1992, returns to his former club to coach his "Dream Team" against the current Barca side.

Cantona is among seven players who have offered to join up as reinforcements to Cruyff's team in tribute to the Dutchman, who earlier this year was voted the European Footballer of the Century. Paul Gascoigne (England), Jorge Campos (Mexico), Mario Jardel and Aloisio Pires Alves (both Brazil), Joao Pinto (Portugal) and Luc Nilis (Belgium) are other top names confirmed for the gala occasion. They will join the likes of Michael Laudrup, Hristo Stoichkov and Ronald Koeman in the reunited Dream Team.

Cantona, voted the greatest player in the history of Manchester United in a recent poll of the club's fans, retired at the end of the 1996-97 season after figuring high in the English game, first with Leeds United and then at Old Trafford. He left to pursue an acting career and last played a high-profile game in August in a match to raise money for the Munich Memorial Fund.

Tonight's game, which is expected to be a 100,000 sell-out, could have been an even more star-studded event but for a number of high-profile withdrawals - including Brazil's Ronaldo.