Klinsmann plays the diplomat

Guy Hodgson hears Germany's captain spread the word in Manchester

Typical. You try to stage the first official press conference of Euro 96 and you find the Germans have got there first. The public relations skirmishes prior to the competition proper began in earnest yesterday, and it was not exactly a surprise to find them wrapped in a red black and gold flag.

A masterpiece of conquering hearts and minds it was too. England's favourite German, Jurgen Klinsmann, had been dispatched from his country's training camp in Northern Ireland to charm Manchester: a trained diplomat could not have done better. The man would probably move his towel to let you get at the sunbed.

The newly elected mayor, Councillor Derek Shaw, received a German shirt with his name printed on the back, it was announced that Bert Trautmann, Manchester City's former goalkeeper, will be a guest of honour throughout the European Championship, and even British beef got the Klinsmann seal of approval.

"Yes, I'll eat British beef," Klinsmann said while scotching rumours that the Germans will be flying in crate loads of homegrown steaks because of the BSE scare. "I had British beef last season at Tottenham when I played probably some of the best football of my career and was voted player of the year. There's still nothing wrong with me. I have no problems.

"It's a big story in the German media but we don't worry about it. We won't be bringing our own meat over here. Our bags will be full of football kit. We will eat English food and we will drink English beer."

Having dealt with the BSE question more elegantly than most politicians currently, the state of the England football team was a doddle. "They are among the favourites," the 31-year-old German captain said, "but I think they have a better chance because they are playing at home. They have a side full of quality players and a manager who seems to have blended individuals together. We have a lot of respect for them."

Asked why English clubs have not done better in Europe, he replied: "That's a different subject. It goes back to their being suspended for a long time from European competition and maybe the style doesn't suit European competitions. It's attacking football, very fast and exciting, but it leads to mistakes and in Europe that's a problem.

"The England team are different. Terry Venables has built round Paul Gascoigne but there are other gifted players like Teddy Sheringham, Nick Barmby and Darren Anderton."

Klinsmann even went in for something guaranteed to warm English souls: a bit of Euro bashing. The German misses the first match of the campaign on 9 June against the Czech Republic because he received two yellow cards in the qualification games. It is something he feels is iniquitous.

"It's absolutely ridiculous," he said. "Being suspended from such a big tournament, I can't understand it. No England players are suspended because they didn't have to play any qualifying games while the Netherlands had to play an extra game. I can't believe Uefa [the governing body of European football] ignored these facts. The countries were asked if the rules should be changed but the Czechs and the Danish voted against it. The Czechs I understand because they play us first, but the Danes? Uefa are always talking about fair play, then this happens."

Lastly, he was asked what would be his ideal final. "Oh, England against Germany, for sure," he replied, before turning his mind to another famous meeting. "But the third goal... maybe we should use the same ball again." Much more of this and we will be handing Geoff Hurst's ball back.

Arts and Entertainment
Attenborough with the primates
tvWhy BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
News
Campbell: ‘Sometimes you have to be economical with the truth’
newsFormer spin doctor says MPs should study tactics of leading sports figures like José Mourinho
Sport
football
Life and Style
Agretti is often compared to its relative, samphire, though is closer in taste to spinach
food + drink
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Kelly Osbourne will play a flight attendant in Sharknado 2
people
News
Down-to-earth: Winstone isn't one for considering his 'legacy'
people
News
The dress can be seen in different colours
i100
Sport
Wes Brown is sent-off
football
Voices
Lance Corporal Joshua Leakey VC
voicesBeware of imitations, but the words of the soldier awarded the Victoria Cross were the real thing, says DJ Taylor
Life and Style
Alexander McQueen's AW 2009/10 collection during Paris Fashion Week
fashionMeet the collaborators who helped create the late designer’s notorious spectacles
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Bookkeeper / Office Co-ordinator

£9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This role is based within a small family run ...

Recruitment Genius: Designer - Print & Digital

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Design and marketing agenc...

Recruitment Genius: Quantity Surveyor

£46000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This property investment firm are lookin...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales / Telemarketing Executive - OTE £30k / £35k plus

£18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company specialises provid...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003
Barbara Woodward: Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with the growing economic superpower

Our woman in Beijing builds a new relationship

Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with growing economic power
Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer. But the only British soldier to be awarded the Victoria Cross in Afghanistan has both

Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer

Beware of imitations, but the words of the soldier awarded the Victoria Cross were the real thing, says DJ Taylor
Alexander McQueen: The catwalk was a stage for the designer's astonishing and troubling vision

Alexander McQueen's astonishing vision

Ahead of a major retrospective, Alexander Fury talks to the collaborators who helped create the late designer's notorious spectacle
New BBC series savours half a century of food in Britain, from Vesta curries to nouvelle cuisine

Dinner through the decades

A new BBC series challenged Brandon Robshaw and his family to eat their way from the 1950s to the 1990s
Philippa Perry interview: The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course

Philippa Perry interview

The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef recreates the exoticism of the Indonesian stir-fry

Bill Granger's Indonesian stir-fry recipes

Our chef was inspired by the south-east Asian cuisine he encountered as a teenager
Chelsea vs Tottenham: Harry Kane was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope

Harry Kane interview

The striker was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope
The Last Word: For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?

Michael Calvin's Last Word

For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?
HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?