Football: Managers are behind Hoddle on Gascoigne

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The Independent Online
Glenn Hoddle's decision to keep Paul Gascoigne in the England fold yesterday received the backing of the managers' union.

Howard Wilkinson, the chairman of The League Managers' Association, said: "The League Managers' Association fully supports Glenn Hoddle's decision. He is much closer to the situation than almost anyone else and is in the best possible position to make such a decision. Many of us have faced similar problems at club level. We have to remember we are human beings first; soccer people second. If the game can be a means of rehabilitation, then it has a duty to be so.

"Critics say Paul has a poor track record and they may be correct. But, quite rightly, he starts with a clean sheet as far as Glenn is concerned and, hopefully, with Glenn's support, Paul will honour the England shirt both as a player and as a person.

"The game has seen more than one high profile example in recent times of the beneficial effect of lending a helping hand when most needed. Of course, as I am sure Glenn accepts, the situation is very different if the offer of help is spurned."

The Republic of Ireland's manager, Mick McCarthy, suffered a blow yesterday when the in-form Keith O'Neill was forced to pull out of his squad for Sunday's World Cup qualifier against Iceland in Dublin. The Norwich striker aggravated a hamstring injury during the midweek draw against Sheffield United and was forced to sit out the Canaries' 2-1 home defeat by Charlton.

Germany's coach, Berti Vogts, will be without the defender Thomas Helmer and the midfielder Mario Basler, both injured, for Saturday's World Cup qualifier against Northern Ireland. In addition, Vogts has left out the Bayer Leverkusen striker Ulf Kirsten in favour of Borussia Dortmund's Heiko Herrlich. "Ulf moves better but Heiko has in his favour that he's getting the goals, most recently in the Champions' League," Vogts said.

GERMANY SQUAD (World Cup Group Nine v Northern Ireland, Nuremberg, Saturday): O Kahn, A Kopke, M Babbel, J Kohler, S Passlack, S Reuter, T Schneider, M Bode, D Eilts, T Hassler, J Heinrich, A Moller, M Scholl, T Strunz, M Tarnat, O Bierhoff, F Bobic, H Herrlich, J Klinsmann.

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