Football: Sutton snubs Hoddle by refusing his England B call

Martin Lipton,John Curtis
Friday 06 February 1998 01:02

Chris Sutton's England career may be over after just 11 minutes, following his decision to pull out of the B squad yesterday. The Blackburn forward, who has been replaced by Ipswich's Jamie Scowcroft, has withdrawn from the game against Chile B because he was not included in the senior squad and has thereby almost certainly ensured he will never again be selected by Glenn Hoddle.

Sutton, who has scored 15 goals this season, was given his England chance in the November friendly against Cameroon, when he replaced Paul Scholes after 79 minutes of the 2-0 win.

When Hoddle named his squads for next week's matches against Chile, Sutton found himself in the B ranks for the game at West Bromwich 24 hours before the full international. Hoddle tried to explain he had selected Sutton for the first match to ensure he had a full game against the South American side rather than turning up at Bisham Abbey merely to sit in the stand.

But Sutton's anger at his "demotion" has led to a fit of pique, with the 23-year-old calling Hoddle to inform him he was not interested in being anything other than a senior squad man.

Hoddle said he had tried to get the striker to change his mind, even enlisting the help of Blackburn's manager, Roy Hodgson. "I spoke to Chris yesterday," Hoddle said. "I tried to persuade him not to pull out out of the squad, as did his club manager. But in the end, it's his decision. If someone doesn't want to play for their country at any level I won't force them. That's his decision."

Blackburn said they "respected" his right to pull out.

Sutton's relationship with Hoddle has been stormy, with the England coach clashing with the striker after Sutton publicly queried why he had not been selected for the World Cup qualifying match against Moldova.

Then he was told to talk to the coach rather than the press, with Hoddle holding out the chance of Sutton being given his chance in future matches, which happened against Cameroon.

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