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Gareth Southgate can avoid any of his England players doing a Gazza if he does one simple thing.
I was there in La Manga when Gazza tore up a hotel room after Glenn Hoddle told him he wasn’t going to the 1998 World Cup.
I was next in after him, and the room looked like a warzone. I was shocked.
But I didn’t like the way Glenn did it. It was like a waiting room. It’s a control thing, calling you all in in ten-minute slots.
What are you telling Tony Adams or Sol Campbell? They know they are in the squad…
Gareth was there. He knows what that felt like. He doesn’t have to do it like that.
When he trims his squad down to 26 for the Euros, he should do it when they are all together.
You’re used to it on a Saturday when your gaffer names the team. You’re all there together.
Do it in a group – or if you have to, pull someone aside quietly in the hotel and have a quick chat. It’s all about how you do it.
What are these players going to do anyway, throw their Playstations around?
This is a young group. There will be a handful who are nervous now about whether they’re going to the Euros because he’s picked this expanded squad.
And there will be a few who are thinking: ‘Why am I here? I’m wasting my time. I’m not going to the Euros.’
Gareth will have to handle it carefully otherwise he’ll make enemies. But he knows. He was the ultimate pro and he knows how to handle it.
He's been there. He’s had to cope with disappointments himself. The missed penalty. He knows what it’s like when players get left out.
I think he’ll handle it the right way. Glenn Hoddle didn’t. Looking back, it felt like he was giving Gazza enough rope to hang himself with.
None of us had had a drink all week. I wasn’t drinking anyway then, but we weren’t allowed, as a team.
Then, the day before he tells us his squad, Glenn told us we could go and let our hair down. Why would you do that?
It was like a test to see whether Gazza could cope for two weeks in a hotel at the finals.
We all knew it would be hard for him. He never sat down. Couldn’t stand still. Couldn't relax.
So of course he got tanked up and when he got the bad news he couldn’t handle it.
If he’d passed the test and not had a drink, he would have gone to that World Cup. One hundred per cent. He was a massive part of getting us there.
Afterwards people said I went instead of him but that wasn’t really fair. He was my mate and it was horrible to see him like that.
But you could see the warning signs. And it’s important Gareth’s had that experience. He won’t want anyone so high maintenance in his squad.
The squad he’s picked is heavy on defenders and forwards, and very light in midfield.
Jordan Henderson and Kalvin Phillips are touch and go, and Declan Rice isn’t long back from an injury.
Maybe that’s why he’s talking about Trent Alexander-Arnold playing there in an emergency – we might even see it in one of the friendlies next week.
It’s rare a team wins a big tournament without a dominant midfield though. It could be our Achilles heel.
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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has taken Manchester United as far as he can.
I thought he was totally outwitted by Unai Emery in the Europa League final. Villarreal are not a great team, but he got out-coached.
Arsenal got absolutely slaughtered for playing exactly the same way as United did against them. They were poor.
You thought Solskjaer would change it. They had no pace up front, so what does he do? He puts Fred on!
Marcus Rashford was having the worst game of his life. You have to see that as a manager. You have to accept it and take the guy off.
And you have a goalkeeper who hasn’t saved a penalty in five years and never looked like saving one in the shoot-out. Take him off!
It’s too NICE for me. Ole is everyone’s mate. He’s not ruthless enough He probably didn’t want to upset people by making those subs.
But United lost. And I thought they were atrocious. Slow. Predictable. Gave the ball away too much.
Paul Pogba gave it away cheaply with a Hollywood pass gone wrong for the free kick Villarreal scored.
Emery had a plan. But Solskjaer got embarrassed. This is the furthest he will take them. I don’t think he’s ever going to win them the league.
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After what I saw at Villa Park from Chelsea, I don’t give them any chance of beating Manchester City in the Champions League final.
They should have a mental edge after beating City recently, and the pressure is off now they’ve finished in the top four.
But Aston Villa was a must-win game and they just weren’t good enough. I worry for Chelsea now.
The FA Cup final was the same. They dominated Leicester in the first half, but they don’t blow teams away.
Timo Werner makes bad decisions and they don’t have anyone clinical enough – how many chances will they need to score against City?
I hope Werner ends up being the hero but I just don’t see it. That City back four have been so solid. They don’t give you many chances.
City will be nervous too. They are going for the Champions League for the first time.
But if Chelsea have been losing big games lately, and if play like they did at Villa they’ve got no chance.
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- Champions League
- FA Cup
- World Cup
- Europa League
- Gareth Southgate
- Marcus Rashford
- Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
- Paul Pogba
- Unai Emery
- Manchester United FC
- Manchester City FC
- Chelsea FC
- England Football Team
- Euro 2020
- Paul Gascoigne
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