Seaman `suits the occasion'

David Seaman has more Wembley memories than most: he conceded a 40-yard free-kick to Paul Gascoigne in the FA Cup semi-final; he won and lost Euro 96 penalty shoot-outs; he has even watched Rod Stewart play there in the pouring rain. Tomorrow, however, he will represent his country on a bittersweet night more laden with emotion than even the twin towers could recall.

Seaman was yesterday chosen by Glenn Hoddle to captain England in tomorrow's World Cup tie against Moldova. He has been granted the honour, despite Hoddle's admitted dislike of goalkeeper-captains, because the England coach feels that he has the character to handle a singular occasion and the status to grace it.

"He suits the occasion," Hoddle said. "He has the respect of players and public alike, is as experienced as anyone in the squad and at the top of his game. He is a smashing lad, always looking on the positive but always in control of his emotions. No one knows what the evening will be like but I'm sure he will be able to deal with it."

Seaman received the MBE during the summer and Hoddle added: "That honour goes with the situation. There is a job to be done. Many people will have gone back to work today, we have to do that on Wednesday."

Seaman, who has previously led Arsenal and Queen's Park Rangers, is Hoddle's fifth captain - Alan Shearer, Tony Adams and Stuart Pearce are injured and Paul Ince suspended. He said: "The worst time will be up to the kick- off. We will all be thinking of Diana but after the national anthem I think the players' mood will change because we have a job to do. We will show our respects before that."

Seaman feels a particular empathy with the tragedy, as his fiancee's mother died less than a month ago. "It has been a bad month and an emotional time," he admitted. He and his girlfriend laid flowers at Kensington Palace and signed the condolence book at Harrods on Friday evening.

"You could see what it meant to everybody," he said. "There was a load of nationalities there, not just English, all laying flowers. It was strange, a lot of people recognised me but no one bothered me for an autograph. Normally people do but they were there to pay their respects to Diana. I noticed it straight away."

The England squad are donating their match fees to the Memorial Fund. They, the FA and other authorities are still discussing whether, and when, "Candle in the Wind" should be played. Elton John had been approached with a view to performing his tribute but will be in New York. A decision will be made on the night after assessing the mood. "There is a danger that it could become a wake," admitted David Davies, the FA's Director of Public Affairs.

There will be other gestures with the team likely to wear a black ribbon, as Greg Rusedski did in the US tennis Open, rather than an armband.

Les Ferdinand said most of the team had watched the funeral at their homes. "No one could have played on Saturday but now we have to concentrate on the job in hand," he added.

"I think people are over it now and getting on with their lives, but it was very emotional watching it. It's such a pity it took a tragedy like that to bring the nation together. I hope we can give everybody a lift."

England should manage that although, as Hoddle noted, an early goal would probably do a lot to lift the mood and ease the tension on the night. Seaman is likely to find himself a remote captain, with much of the play at the other end. This would not normally be ideal but Hoddle's choice is justified in the unique circumstances.

Gary Pallister, somewhat ironically given his weekend interview, is doubtful after missing training yesterday with a stiff back. David Batty opted out of the squad match at the end of the session to nurse a foot injury which has been troubling him for a while.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Technical Author / Multimedia Writer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This recognized leader in providing software s...

Recruitment Genius: Clinical Lead / RGN

£40000 - £42000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: IT Sales Consultant

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT support company has a n...

Recruitment Genius: Works Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A works engineer is required in a progressive ...

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent