Football: The suffering six?

Ian Ridley on the players likely to miss the flight to France
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The Independent Online
Ian Walker

Injury at a crucial time saw others overtake him in Hoddle's thinking after he was No 2 to Seaman 15 months ago and played in home match against Italy. Only one of 29-man squad not to play last week; this might be Hoddle's least difficult decision.

Rio Ferdinand

His promise is unquestionable and he will go on to serve England well. Youth and inexperience count against him this time; it is different for defenders by comparison with young attackers whose mistakes are not so severely punished. Japan 2002 beckons.

Phil Neville

Probably a better footballer than Andy Hinchcliffe in the left wing-back position but England's need is for a left-footed crosser of the ball from there and he does not offer that option. Another who has time on his side.

Nicky Butt

Could be seen as valuable cover for either David Batty or Paul Ince but if England are to go on and challenge seriously for the title, they need more creative attacking players and it is to be hoped that Glenn Hoddle is bold enough with his selection.

Robert Lee

So close. The re-emergence of Tottenham's Darren Anderton has not done him any favours, nor a mediocre season with Newcastle, and he could well be sidelined despite having been with Hoddle for much of the coach's tenure.

Les Ferdinand

Looked neither fully fit nor impressive in the game against Belgium; it could have been different had a linesman's infuriatingly wrong flag not denied him a goal. It would be a shame, though, if his last act in an England shirt was to have a penalty saved.

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