Football: McManaman's England goal

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The Independent Online
Steve McManaman's dribble into Liverpool folklore did more than just earn his club a draw in Tuesday night's Uefa Cup first round first leg at Celtic. It also took him to the brink of an England recall.

McManaman's goal was watched by Glenn Hoddle, the England coach, on television and John Gorman, Hoddle's assistant, at Celtic Park.

Gorman said it was an "electrifying" goal. "He went at people and stuck the ball into the net, that's what you want. It was superb. All night he worked his socks off. He showed a great attitude. I am an admirer of him, he plays with heart."

That was evident afterwards with McManaman seemingly more upset at Liverpool wasting their early superiority than elated at his goal. "It was one of the best goals I have scored," he said, "but it was more important in that it gave us an equaliser. We did not play well in the second half and let the game slip away. That was disappointing."

McManaman was left out of the England squad for the match with Moldova, a decision, Hoddle said, based on form, not his unavailability for England's summer tournament following a knee operation.

"He's got to keep plugging away," Gorman added. McManaman himself said: "Of course I want to play for England and I was disappointed when I was not in the squad. It is of great importance to me, but I understand Glenn Hoddle's reasoning. No one has a right to be in the squad, you only get there by producing. That's what I have to do, play well for Liverpool and score goals."

Another good performance will be required in the second leg as Celtic, buoyed by their second-half recovery, will travel with confidence. "It's not going to be easy for Liverpool, but they might have too much," Gorman said .

Arsene Wenger, the Arsenal manager, is angry that Ian Wright, Tony Adams and Patrick Vieira earned yellow cards in their 1-0 Uefa Cup defeat to PAOK Salonika, the first match of their European campaign. He said Wright and Adams "should know not to argue with the referee. And Patrick Vieira's yellow card for a trip in the last minute of the game was unnecessary."