England's Best Man

Daily Mail (London), September 9, 1997 | Go to article overview
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England's Best Man


Byline: NEIL HARMAN

THE safest pair of hands in English football will be entrusted with holding the nation's team together tomorrow night when emotions could run away with England's World Cup hopes.

David Seaman will lead England at a highly-charged Wembley for the qualifier against Moldova, four days after the funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales.

He has been chosen, said coach Glenn Hoddle, because 'he best suits the occasion'. It is a genuine mark of respect for the 33-year-old Arsenal goalkeeper whose inspirational performances in last summer's European Championship were rewarded with an MBE in the Birthday Honours list.

Seaman said: 'It never entered my head that I'd be chosen because there have been so many captains before me in the squad and I didn't think it would ever happen to me.

'It's only through a number of circumstances that the chance has come and I'm one of the luckiest guys around. Some people become a captain because of the respect and experience they have, some get it because, like Tony Adams, they shout here, there and everywhere.

'It depends what the manager wants, what his preferences are.

'I'd like to think it's come my way because of the respect and experience I've had in my career. It might be important to have to calm people down a little bit on Wednesday but it won't make me play any differently.

'Hopefully I won't have so much shouting to do because the ball will be spending a lot of time at the other end.' Hoddle said he was left with only one option once Teddy Sheringham was forced out of the squad last week and returned to Manchester for treatment on two cracked ribs.

The prospect of choosing Paul Gascoigne was raised - and rejected when commonsense prevailed; Gareth Southgate was a viable candidate and the fact that he Able Seaman gets lead role at Wembley may indicate that he will miss the match altogether.

Hoddle's first choice of captain was Alan Shearer, who still does not know if he will be fit for the World Cup Finals should England qualify. Shearer's Newcastle team-mate Stuart Pearce is injured and Paul Ince is suspended for his booking against Poland last May.

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