Football: Lyall rules himself out of England reckoning: Ipswich general manager rejects overtures from FA - Surgeon confirms Mabbutt has fractured skull

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The Independent Online
JOHN LYALL yesterday became the latest potential England manager to rule himself out of contention for the job.

The Football Association is keen to appoint a caretaker to look after the team for England's next two matches, following Graham Taylor's resignation on Tuesday. Don Howe, the early favourite, ruled himself out on Wednesday. Now Lyall, the Ipswich general manager who seems to have been the FA's second choice, has done likewise.

Lyall, 53, issued a statement yesterday which said: 'In view of the speculation I believe that it is important to clarify the situation. My future in football management can only be short-term because of my age. I would do anything to help English football but I do not feel myself being appointed caretaker manager would benefit the game.'

Candidates for the full-time England manager's job who have ruled themselves out include Kevin Keegan, Steve Coppell, Gerry Francis and Ron Atkinson.

The surgeon who operated on Gary Mabbutt after his clash with Wimbledon's John Fashanu in Wednesday's 1-1 draw at White Hart Lane confirmed to Tottenham last night that their captain's injury is a fracture of the skull.

Fashanu and the Wimbledon owner, Sam Hammam, were furious yesterday over the description of the injury which Spurs released after it was first thought to be a cracked cheekbone. 'All the reports in the newspapers are over the top,' Hammam said. 'People might think that Gary had brain surgery.'

But Spurs revealed that David James, the surgeon who worked on Mabbutt's injuries for more than two hours at a London hospital, said the player was lucky he did not lose the sight in his right eye.

The Tottenham statement said: 'Mr James, with the use of titanium metal and screws, rebuilt the floor and side of the eye socket as they were fractured in several places.'

Fashanu believes his hard-man reputation has prejudiced the media to wage a campaign against him. But he said: 'I will sleep easy because I know it was an accident. I know Gary doesn't think I tried to injure him.'

Keith Hackett, the match referee, after watching a video of the clash in which Fashanu's elbow clearly makes contact with Mabbutt's face, said he will not be making a special report because 'I cannot tell from the film if there is deliberate intent to injure somebody'.

The Spurs manager, Ossie Ardiles, said the club will respect Mabbutt's wish to let the matter drop. Ardiles suggested that the club's injury crisis - his striker Teddy Sheringham also had surgery yesterday, to repair a split cartilage in his right knee - would force him into the transfer market.

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