Football: Merson and Adams ready for England: Arsenal trio injured

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GEORGE GRAHAM, the Arsenal manager, said last night that two of his injured England internationals, Tony Adams and Paul Merson, would be fit enough to join up with Graham Taylor's squad as planned, but that another, Ian Wright, was still a 'big doubt' for next week's vital World Cup qualifier in the Netherlands.

Adams' ankle had responded to treatment as had Merson's sore hamstring, Graham reported. But he added: 'Ian Wright is still a big doubt. We think it is knee ligament trouble and although I want to help England as much as I can it won't be at the risk of any player's health. Ian won't be going unless he's fully fit. At the moment he's still having treatment.'

Another unwanted bulletin concerned Stuart Pearce, who is troubled by a thigh strain. Graham Taylor's tough-as-teak left-back is only '50-50' for Nottingham Forest's tie against Wrexham tonight, but he will join up with the England party. Les Ferdinand, who emulated Pearce in scoring against Poland at Wembley last month, faces a test on his hamstring before Queen's Park Rangers face Barnet tonight.

Taylor's Dutch counterpart, Dick Advocaat, announced his squad yesterday and there was no place for Ruud Gullit, despite his regal performances for Sampdoria.

Paul Gascoigne, who is suspended for the Dutch duel, remains unavailable to Lazio after twisting his (lesser-known) left knee in training yesterday. The England midfielder has missed the Roman club's last two games with Achilles tendon problems.

Manchester United can expect to make even more money from the European Cup after yesterday's Uefa announcement that semi-finals will be returned this season. Each of the two Champions' League winners will play the other group's runners-up at home on 27 April.

Walter Smith, the Rangers manager, and his No 2, Archie Knox, were yesterday both given four-year contracts by the Ibrox club.

The French prosecutor investigating the Marseille scandal is examining a new charge from Jean-Jacques Eydelie. The Marseille player hinted in testimony that Bernard Tapie, the club president, had allegedly offered him a bribe to change his evidence. Tapie denies the charge.

NETHERLANDS SQUAD (v England, World Cup Group Two, Rotterdam, 13 October): De Goey (Feyenoord), Snelders (Aberdeen); De Wolf, Van Gobbel (both Feyenoord), F De Boer, R De Boer, Overmars, Rijkaard (all Ajax), E Koeman (PSV Eindhoven), R Koeman (Barcelona), Wouters (Bayern Munich), Winter (Lazio), Jonk, Bergkamp (Internazionale), Bosman (Anderlecht), Roy (Foggia), Gillhaus (Vitesse Arnhem).