Scot's claim denied by FA

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The Independent Online
The Football Association yesterday denied that Alex Ferguson, the Manchester United manager, had formally been offered the England manager's job following the departure of Terry Venables after the European Championships last year.

Steve Double, a spokesman for the FA, said: "There were a number of candidates under consideration. However, there is only one who received a formal offer as England coach and that was Glenn Hoddle. We are delighted with how things have turned out."

Ferguson claims he was offered the England job before Glenn Hoddle in his new book The Manager's Diary: A Will To Win, which is published next month. "I was offered the England job after Terry Venables left," he says. "I turned it down in favour of staying with United."

United's new pounds 3.5m signing, Teddy Sheringham, has warned supporters not to see him as a replacement for Eric Cantona.

The England striker, in Hong Kong on tour with his new team-mates, said: "I can only be myself and hopefully that will be good enough for Manchester United. There are always pressures and I came to United because I wanted to be challenging for trophies and hopefully I will be doing that."

However, he believes United will need to battle to retain their Premiership title. "I really do see five or six teams up there and two or three more outside chances. There are a lot of good players coming into England and it makes it very difficult to win the league. Arsenal, I think, will be up there, Liverpool, obviously, and Newcastle again."

Meanwhile, rain and the absence of Ryan Giggs and other top players have persuaded some Hong Kong fans that United's friendly match today is not worth attending.

The local side South China said yesterday they had agreed to give refunds to some fans after complaints that Giggs, David Beckham and Gary Neville would not be playing.