Glenn Hoddle has revealed how he told Paul Gascoigne to his face that he wouldn’t be part of England’s 1998 World Cup squad – not that it stopped Gazza from having an infamous meltdown.
The Three Lions were at a pre-tournament training camp at La Manga when Hoddle revealed to Gascoigne that he wasn’t part of the 22-man squad going to France.
The news went down like a lead balloon, with Gazza wrecking the hotel room after realising his fate.
Just under 23 years on from the infamous incident, Hoddle revealed why the maverick midfielder wasn’t on the plane in 1998.
Speaking to Betfair, Hoddle said: “When I left Paul Gascoigne out in 1998 it was an easy decision to make in the end.
“I'd been speaking with him for six months about getting fit. He had a knee problem and then he got injured in a match we played in Morocco.
“We needed him to get through that game. The medical staff told me it would be three weeks before he was back.
“That would have been halfway through the tournament. The decision was just about his fitness. It was a bitter disappointment that he wasn't fit.”
Gascoigne’s fitness was a concern in the months leading up to the World Cup, but it was a friendly against Morocco that convinced Hoddle to leave him out of the squad.
“As an England manager you're leasing the car, you're not owning the car”, Hoddle said.
“I told Paul six months before that World Cup that he needed to be fitter than he'd ever been.
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“At the time he was playing for Middlesbrough. By the end of the season he wasn't as fit as I wanted him.
“And then he got clobbered in Morocco. That made the decision for me. It was sad. But if you don't want to me tough decisions you shouldn't be England manager.
“Everyone will have an opinion about England and ups to you to make the big calls.”
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