Football: Shearer gives Hoddle support

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ALAN SHEARER yesterday gave his support to Glenn Hoddle over the controversy surrounding the England coach's book about the World Cup.

Hoddle has been widely criticised for revealing details of Paul Gascoigne's tantrum on learning he had been omitted from England's World Cup squad, but Shearer said yesterday he had no problem with his coach's revelations.

"I have been amazed by some of the comments made over the past week in connection with Glenn Hoddle's new book," Shearer said.

"I was given a copy of it yesterday and have read all the extracts relating to me, as well as several other bits which caught my eye. It seemed fairly straightforward to me, and I did not feel that any of my confidences had been broken."

The England squad are currently gathered at Bisham Abbey for a get-together ahead of next month's opening Euro 2000 qualifying match against Sweden in Stockholm, and Shearer said he did not believe his team-mates would have "any real problem" with the coach's memoirs from France 98, despite suggestions the England players might have lost confidence in Hoddle.

"Everyone else named in the book will want to read the parts that are relevant to them and form their own views - but, when they do, I doubt if there will be any real problem," Shearer said.

"All the players really want to do is get on with the important business of qualifying for the European Championship finals," he added.

Hoddle's book - published this week - will not be the last to details events in the England camp during the summer. Manchester United's Teddy Sheringham is working on an autobiography which is due out in October and will include details of the pre-World Cup nightclubbing antics that caused a rift between himself and Hoddle, while Arsenal's Tony Adams has also written a book, due out in September.

Adams, meanwhile, announced yesterday he will retire at the end of this season if a nagging ankle injury continues to hinder his ability to play. The England defender has to take anti-inflammatory tablets before matches and he is worried that the side-effects may cause permanent damage.

"If I find I have to take them before every game this season, then I will have to give a lot of thought to carrying on next season," Adams said. "Ideally, I would like to play for at least another couple of seasons and finish at the top.

"The appetite is very much there. But I want a life after football and there have been worrying reports of long-term side-effects from constant use of these tablets."

If Adams did retire at the end of the current season, it would be a loss not only for Arsenal, but also for the England team.

A stable environment in which the national side can prepare for Euro 2000 is the one of the Football Association's highest priorities, as it emphasised yesterday by making a renewed attempt to persuade Hoddle to sign a new long-term contract to take the team through to the 2002 World Cup.

The FA's chief executive, Graham Kelly, and its chairman, Keith Wiseman, have made it clear they regard the row over Hoddle's book as trivial and want him to sign a new contract as soon as possible, and a source at the FA said yesterday: "The leadership of the FA are determined to remove any uncertainty about Glenn's future as soon as possible.

"There is an obligation now, after two years, to review the contract so it seems like a good time to sort it all out and they want to do that on a long term basis.

"The last thing the FA need is any sort of doubt in the way it existed with Terry Venables. Ideally, a new contract should be sorted out very quickly and it should give us a long period of stability right the way through to the next World Cup."