"I need to see how he works, to talk to him, to know what goes through his mind," said Hoddle yesterday, as he named the party to travel to Moldova for England's opening World Cup Group Two qualifier next week.
Hoddle has included two new faces in his first squad: David Beckham, the 21-year-old Manchester United midfielder, and David James, the Liverpool goalkeeper. Otherwise he has stuck as closely to Terry Venables' European Championship squad as injuries would allow.
"The match has come very quickly in the season making it difficult to judge players," Hoddle said. "I felt I needed to get Matt in the squad, to see him and chat to him. I need to see his attributes as well as his negatives.
"He has immense talent. I believe international football needs highly technical players, that is why he and Beckham are in the squad. A door has been opened for a few people."
Hoddle intimated that, unless Le Tissier is sensational in training (which he frequently is at Southampton) he was unlikely to play. But he is right to bring him into the squad, his is a rich talent and, if Hoddle can find a way of harnessing it, England's midfield will have another dimension.
In the long term Beckham may prove more reliable. "His maturity has impressed me," Hoddle said. "I marked him down as a great talent when I first saw him a few years ago and he has come on well. He also has an eye for goal which is a wonderful thing to have in your game. He has come to the fore in a very good team."
Most of the five changes are enforced. Tony Adams, Jamie Redknapp, David Platt and Phil Neville are all injured. Paul Gascoigne, though yet to start for Rangers, is expected to be fit and is included.
The one player dropped is Tim Flowers. In 15 months the Blackburn goalkeeper has gone from being equal first choice with David Seaman to not even being in the top three. Hoddle said he had told Flowers he would be back but, for now, James is included.
Gary Pallister, injured in the summer, replaces Adams while Platt's absence creates a place for David Batty. Unexpectedly, Hoddle said: "I have long admired him. He is a better passer than people credit and he has a bite to his game. He is a very good player playing very well." The new captain will be chosen after Hoddle has looked at his squad at work.
There is one other addition: a masseur, Steve Slattery, who worked with Hoddle at Swindon Town.
England's match, on Sunday week, will be preceded by an Under-21 international, on the same pitch but a day earlier. That party includes Jody Morris, a 17-year-old who was given his Chelsea debut by Hoddle last February and played a promising first full game against Middlesbrough on Wednesday. He is one for the future. The purpose of this trip is the present, a win over Moldova and the forming of a foundation of a team to beat Italy.
Will Le Tissier be at its hub? It should be remembered that Venables gave Le Tissier a debut as substitute in his first match. Six games later he tired of his inconsistency and dropped him.
More pertinent in Venables' first squad was the inclusion of Darren Anderton and Graeme Le Saux, their blend of flair and industry, versatility and intelligence, came to typify Venables' teams.
Graham Taylor's trademark was his distrust of individualism. The clue in his first squad was the presence of Gordon Cowans, who went on to play in Dublin in place of Paul Gascoigne, the Italia '90 hero. Taylor never recovered.
First impressions suggests Hoddle's stamp is most prominent in the recall of Le Tissier. Yet Batty's inclusion indicates a pragmatic aspect to Hoddle's thoughts. Maybe Beckham will, in time, prove to be the archetypal Hoddle player. Competitive, a good team player, but gilded with a touch of genius.
ENGLAND SQUAD (World Cup qualifying Group Two v Moldova, Republican Stadium, Chisinau, 1 September): Seaman (Arsenal), Walker (Tottenham), James (Liverpool); G Neville (Manchester Utd), Pearce (Nottingham Forest), Pallister (Man Utd), Howey (Newcastle), Southgate (Aston Villa), Campbell (Tottenham), Gascoigne (Rangers), Ince (Internazionale), McManaman (Liverpool), Batty (Newcastle), Le Tissier (Southampton), Beckham (Man Utd), Stone (Nottm Forest), Barmby (Middlesbrough), Anderton (Tottenham), Sheringham (Tottenham), Shearer (Newcastle), Ferdinand (Newcastle), Fowler (Liverpool).
ENGLAND UNDER-21 SQUAD (European Under-21 Championship Group Two v Moldova, Republican Stadium, Chisinau, 31 August): Day (Crystal Palace), Marshall (Norwich City); Duberry (Chelsea), Scimeca (Aston Villa), Thatcher (Wimbledon), Newton (Charlton), Potter (Southampton), Rufus (Charlton), Ford (Leeds), Butt (Manchester Utd), Bowyer (Leeds), Gallen (Queen's Park Rangers), Brown (Manchester City), Eadie (Norwich), Heskey (Leicester), Dyer (Crystal Palace), Morris (Chelsea), Holland (Newcastle), Moore (Tranmere Rovers).Reuse content