Football: Southgate supports picking Cole

GARETH SOUTHGATE believes Andy Cole's verbal attack on Alan Shearer has not harmed the Manchester United striker's chances of playing against Scotland in the Euro 2000 play-offs.

Cole caused controversy at the weekend when he accused the England captain of being the national team's "supposed golden boy" and insisted any other player would have been dropped if they had gone through a similar dip in form.

But Southgate yesterday maintained the outburst would be overlooked by the England coach, Kevin Keegan, when he names his party today for the two games with the Scots.

"It's up to the manager to pick the squad that he thinks will do the job," explained Southgate, who played when England beat Scotland 2-0 in the Euro 96 finals at Wembley.

"If he feels Andy is good enough to be there, I'm sure he won't be too concerned about what's been said. He'll pick his team on merit, though I've only read what's been quoted in the newspapers and I haven't read it in full context."

England and Scotland have been left vying for one Euro 2000 spot by their failure to finish top of their qualifying groups. "We've both got a lifeline," Southgate said, "and it's up to us to take the chance.

"Everybody involved with England would hold their hands up and admit the qualifying run has been very disappointing, right from the first game.

"I think both sides have been criticised in the last few months and both sides would be the first to admit they could have played better in their group games.

"But it's come to this and it'll be a great fixture. I think it's going to be very tight because both sides know each other so well. There's no question there will be little to choose between the teams. It'll be like a domestic cup tie, if anything. I don't think home advantage will have a great bearing on it because you're not travelling thousands of miles and worrying about the food or hotels.

"The rest of Europe is probably laughing at how much publicity and hype is surrounding the fixture because for them some of the Champions' League games have been bigger. But with the rivalry that exists between the two countries, that will always be the case."

The former Manchester United and Republic of Ireland striker Frank Stapleton also believes that Cole should play for England. "I can understand the player's frustrations and he's not really had a good run with England," Stapleton said.

"He's been in and out of the team, while the changes in management have not helped. But if someone is scoring goals like he is, then you can't ignore him. After all he has not fallen out with Kevin Keegan and certainly on current form and goalscoring he should be included."

Keegan could risk creating a bad atmosphere in the England squad if he includes Cole and Shearer, but Stapleton believes that can be avoided.

"I think everyone has to concentrate on the football side and remember what's at stake," he said. "The manager has got to sort out any problem there could be before the players step out on to the training pitch.

"There has got to be unity within the squad and if necessary the manager should have clear-the-air talks.

"There is a huge prize at stake for the winners of this play-off and they have to work together to achieve it."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Living for the moment: Julianne Moore playing Alzheimer’s sufferer Alice
Jay Z
businessJay-Z's bid for Spotify rival could be blocked
The spider makes its break for freedom
A propaganda video shows Isis forces near Tikrit
voicesAdam Walker: The Koran has violent passages, but it also has others that explicitly tells us how to interpret them
Ashley Young celebrates the winner for Manchester United against Newcastle
footballNewcastle v United player ratings
Arts and Entertainment
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: 1st Line Customer Support Technician

£15000 - £19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Waterlooville based softwa...

Ashdown Group: C# Developer - (C#, VB.Net, SQL, Git, TDD)

Negotiable: Ashdown Group: Developer (C#, VB & ASP.Net, SQL Server, TSQL) - Pe...

Recruitment Genius: Associate Sales Consultant

£16000 - £19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Associate Sales Consultant i...

Recruitment Genius: Operations Manager

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Well established and expanding ...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot