Football: Souness angry at Le Tissier call-up

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The Independent Online
Glenn Hoddle's inclusion of Matt Le Tissier in his England squad for next week's friendly against Mexico was always likely to provoke controversy but the campaign for the Channel Islander's international career to be on hold, perhaps permanently, acquired an unlikely cheerleader yesterday.

Graeme Souness, Le Tissier's manager at Southampton, thinks the midfielder should not be called up, but his concern is over fitness and not ability.

The England coach told a news conference yesterday that Le Tissier had confirmed his fitness to play, but Souness had said after Wednesday's defeat at Chelsea that Le Tissier was not able to play 90 minutes because of foot and groin problem.

Souness said on Radio 5 Live: "I spoke to the player yesterday after he received the call from Glenn Hoddle. He was going to tell Glenn that he didn't feel he could do himself justice because of the injury. But Glenn Hoddle has insisted on putting out a story totally different to the one Matt told me."

Le Tissier himself had said after the Chelsea game that he wanted to play for England. At his news conference Hoddle said: "I've spoken to Matt and he assures me he could've played at Chelsea. He said that the injury has been no different to how it's been for the last six or seven games. We'll chat when we get together.

"Whatever reasons for Graeme not playing him aren't for me to comment. If Graeme wants to speak he can alert me to the situation. We weren't alerted so we've selected him. The fact that he played on Saturday and came off the bench at Chelsea doesn't suggest the player was injured."

Hoddle has already made clear that every player selected for the Mexico game will be ordered to attend the squad's Buckinghamshire hotel so that the England medical team can check their fitness. That is to prevent fit players being withdrawn by their clubs, with Hoddle pointing out: "If they can play for their clubs and not for us, that would be unfair."

Hoddle took pains to indicate he did not believe such a thought would cross the minds of managers. He said: "A lot of them were international players and would not have been happy if it had happened to them."

Tony Yeboah's future at Leeds looks even more uncertain after he pulled out of their squad. The striker, who last week threw his shirt at the Leeds bench after being substituted at Tottenham, declared himself unfit with a hamstring problem for the visit to Sheffield Wednesday.

However, the Leeds' manager, George Graham, said the club's medical staff could not find anything wrong with the Ghanaian.

Sheffield United are poised to sign Carl Tiler, the Aston Villa defender, after the clubs agreed an undisclosed fee, while Uwe Rosler's days at Manchester City could be over. He may be swapped for the Sunderland striker, Craig Russell, before next Thursday's transfer deadline.

A Middlesbrough supporter yesterday described how she stood for 15-and- a-half hours to secure tickets for the Coca-Cola Cup final against Leicester City.

Barbara Griffin's ordeal began when she arrived at the club's Riverside stadium at 6am on Thursday to find 3,500 Boro fans already waiting for the ticket office to open at 9.30.

The snail pace progress was exacerbated by the 10-abreast queue having to funnel into a narrow passage between a wall and a builder's skip. "For the last three hours I couldn't scratch my nose," Griffin, a Boro supporter for 30 years and a season ticket holder, said. "Having one office open for a major cup final was a disgrace. The crush and the wait were horrendous. No one came out of the club to apologise. They just don't care."

Newcastle flotation success, page 24