Football: Hoddle's `calm' amid private pressures

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John Gorman, England's assistant manager, yesterday described how Glenn Hoddle remained calm in Italy last weekend despite the massive pressures on his professional and private life.

Hoddle masterminded the plotting and planning that saw England secure the goalless draw in Rome which earned them a place at next summer's World Cup finals. All the time Hoddle was attempting to keep his players focused on the job in hand, he knew that news of the break-up of his marriage was about to emerge.

But Gorman, a close friend of Hoddle since their playing days at Spurs in the early 1980s, said that the coach had shown steely resolve all weekend.

"Glenn was so calm, much calmer than Cesare Maldini [Italy's coach], and that rubbed off on everybody," Gorman said. "Normally I'm really tense before a game, but Glenn did everything to keep us all in the right frame. He's so calm, and did lots of things to keep the players as light-hearted as he could, but focused as well.

"When we were on the coach to the ground there were some little games we played to calm everybody down. Then he put on a tape of the best of English football, the past teams and the present one, all to stirring music. It geed everybody up, including me."

Gorman stressed that Hoddle's separation from his wife, Anne, was nothing to do with the pressures of the job, and spoke of his sadness at the news, adding: "They are both close friends of mine."