Hoddle given seal of approval from No 10

Mike Rowbottom on opinion in the game and outside it on the new England manager
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The Independent Online
Everybody seemed to have something to say about Glenn Hoddle's new job yesterday - from the Prime Minister to Hoddle's mum.

John Major - an ardent Chelsea fan - warmly welcomed the appointment. "Glenn Hoddle has done a remarkable job at Chelsea and he will certainly be missed there," Major said. "None the less, he is a great catch for England and I offer him my warmest congratulations on his appointment.

"England invented the game of soccer and it is about time we were on top of the world again. I hope Glenn Hoddle can achieve that."

Meanwhile, the woman who invented Glenn Hoddle, Mrs Terri Hoddle, was harbouring mixed feelings about the latest move in a footballing career which began with Potter Street Rangers in the Harlow Recreational League. "I am very proud to think that he's been offered the job," she said. "But I'm a bit terrified at the same time."

The turnip potential of the England job was also one of the first considerations voiced by Osvaldo Ardiles, the Argentinian World Cup winner who played with Hoddle at Spurs between 1978 and 1987. "The job could destroy Glenn," he said. "I hope it doesn't happen."

But the former Tottenham manager believes Hoddle - and the Football Association - have made the right decision. "I know Glenn very well and I think this is an inspiring choice by the FA.

"I think Glenn will get England playing with more flair than they have for the last 20 years. But he is realistic as well. He knows very, very well indeed that the result is important.

"The No 1 thing for any manager of a national team is to have played for the team. You can't get that knowledge any other way, and Glenn has done that. The fact that he has also played abroad as well can only be good for England.

"In some ways I envy Glenn, because managing a national team is the maximum and Glenn has always been very ambitious. Having said that, I don't envy him the other part of the job. England are expected to win all the time, and the press don't have any patience if they don't."

Ardiles believes, nevertheless, that Hoddle should have sufficient inner strength to cope with the job. "Over the years, some people have thought that Glenn is soft, but I can assure you that he's nothing of the kind. He is a very hard man."

Gary Lineker, who played with Hoddle during the 1988 European Championships, expressed regret that there would be no continued role for the current England coach, Terry Venables, after Euro 96.

"I think most of us would like Terry Venables to continue, but the people involved have backed themselves into their various corners. If a new appointment has to be made, and that's the case, then I'm delighted it's Glenn Hoddle. Anyone who's seen Chelsea's style of football this season will be happy with that."

Lineker said Hoddle commands respect straight away with players because he was such an exceptionally talented performer himself. "If he had been around now, he would have added quite significantly to his number of caps because the team would have been built around him."

The announcement will have lifted the spirits of Southampton's gifted midfielder Matthew Le Tissier who, like Hoddle, has found himself left out of the England team despite having a huge number of supporters.

Le Tissier, a transfer target for Hoddle during his time at Chelsea, said: "Glenn Hoddle was my hero as a boy, someone I have admired for a long time. If he is the England manager, that's a different matter."

The case may be altered for Le Tissier; for Hoddle it certainly is. However things turn out for Harlow's favourite son, he has come a long way from Potter Street.

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