Football: Taylor warns Wright of his responsibility

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The Independent Online
GRAHAM TAYLOR added his voice to those urging Ian Wright to behave and spare his career from recurring controversy when the England manager warned yesterday that Wright was putting his international place in jeopardy.

The Arsenal striker, and the man sharing goalscoring responsibility with Alan Shearer on England's World Cup quest, must face a Football Association disciplinary commission early in the New Year to answer a misconduct charge following his clash with David Howells at the weekend. It is alleged Wright punched his Tottenham opponent.

A guilty verdict would almost certainly lead to a lengthy ban but a suspension for Wright around the time of England's next World Cup game with San Marino in February would not automatically cost him his international shirt. Players banned for their clubs only miss England friendlies - competitive fixtures have their own disciplinary machinery.

But Taylor revealed that his bosses at Lancaster Gate could order him to leave out a player. 'It is in my contract that I have total control over team selection but the FA do have the power to say someone is not worthy of international selection. That is above me although they have never gone down that road before.'

Wright is quick in thought and deed and has a temper to match. He is also prone to respond to taunting from the terraces. Taylor said: 'Ian Wright has caused me no bother playing for England but players have to remember that after they get picked they are associated with their country. It becomes Ian Wright of Arsenal and England.'

A large dose of Lucozade provided further confirmation yesterday that the Premier League is over its early birth pangs and is entering a period of sound health. The company has become its first sponsor with a pick-me-up injection of pounds 3m over three years.

Rick Parry, the Premier League chief executive, said it was a 'very important step' to realising its objective of a series of major sponsorships. 'We tripped over our feet in the summer because there were so many things to organise and put in place but we are now taking things slowly and surely and hope there will be more announcements to come,' he said. 'We had a very constructive meeting earlier this week and there is a degree of unity. Hopefully the clubs can go on now to sort out the issues that matter.'

Each of the 22 clubs will benefit by around pounds 45,000 per season from the deal with Lucozade Sports which John Barnes, who has spearheaded its television advertising for two years, says is one more reason why clubs like his can no longer expect to dominate the game as Liverpool did in the 1980s.

Blackburn continued their spending yesterday with the pounds 800,000 purchase of the Swedish defender Patrik Andersson from Malmo. The 21-year-old, who turned down the champions Leeds and the Premier League leaders, Norwich, awaits a work permit and is not expected to complete his move until the New Year. The Blackburn manager, Kenny Dalglish, could strengthen his defensive resources yet further by signing Norway's Henning Berg.

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