Football: Keegan `will not use a faith healer'

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THE Football Association has confirmed that Kevin Keegan will not be using a faith healer while he is coaching England.

It is claimed Keegan, who has become England's part-time coach for the next four games, used the faith healer Betty Shine while manager of Newcastle to treat Alan Shearer and Steve Howey.

Keegan's predecessor as the national coach, Glenn Hoddle, was heavily criticised for involving the faith healer Eileen Drewery in the England set-up.

Noel White, the chairman of the FA's international committee, admitted there was a problem with Drewery and Hoddle's steadfast refusal to dispense with her services contributed to his eventual downfall. But the FA claim it is not embarrassed by the revelations that Keegan also used a faith healer. It is satisfied that he has promised not to involve one with the England squad.

The FA spokesman, Steve Double, said: "Kevin stated publicly the day after he accepted the position that he would not be using faith healers. As far as we are concerned that is the end of the matter."

Drewery said yesterday that she had not been contacted by the new England coach. "No, I haven't had a call from Kevin Keegan. He's got his own healer, and I'm delighted for him, well done Kevin Keegan," she said. "Good luck to Kevin Keegan for having a healer. There are many clubs throughout this country which use healers, there are many people in this world who use healers."

Meanwhile, White has left the door open for Terry Venables to return as England's coach. Keegan has insisted he does not want the job full time at the moment and will concentrate on trying to take Fulham into the Premiership after his four-game run ends in June.

White was generally thought to have been against Venables. He is viewed as one of the key men behind Venables' departure from the England job in 1996 and was believed to have been opposed to his return following Hoddle's sacking.

Now White appears to have softened his hard-line view of Venables and has admitted that the former Tottenham manager will be considered for the post when Keegan steps down in the summer.

"We will look at certain names put before us and Terry's will almost certainly be among those," said White. "I've never queried his coaching qualities and never would. Nobody but nobody will be discounted. Nobody is saying that Terry Venables will not be the next England coach. He could do a good job."

Double claimed Venables has always been a contender since Hoddle was sacked over his controversial remarks about the disabled. "Nobody has been ruled out and that has always been our position and will continue to be so," he said.

Hoddle's former assistant, John Gorman, is reportedly being lined up to replace the Tottenham-bound Stewart Houston as first-team coach at Ipswich Town.

Gorman watched the Suffolk side's 1-0 First Division win at Bristol City on Saturday. He lost his England job when Keegan brought in Derek Fazackerly and Arthur Cox to help him run the England team.