'I was so hurt' – Gascoigne went berserk at Hoddle over England decision

Gareth Southgate has some painful decisions to make before Euro 2024 kicks off, but none will be as badly received as what Glenn Hoddle did in 1998.

Southgate picked a 33-man squad for England’s two final friendlies before the tournament starts, and that will need to be trimmed to 26 by June 8.


Gascoigne is regarded as one of English football’s best ever talentsCredit: Getty

It has already been confirmed James Maddison and Curtis Jones are out, while Jarell Quansah and James Trafford are expected to follow, leaving three decisions to be made.

Most of those calls look straightforward, if not slightly controversial, but something spectacular would have to happen for an omission as glaring as Paul Gascoigne in ‘98.

England’s most technically gifted player at the time, if not of all time, the attacking midfielder was at Rangers in ‘98 when he should have been one of the first names on the team sheet.

However, then-manager Hoddle saw things differently ahead of his only ever tournament as Three Lions boss, and it’s easy to see why.

England were training in La Manga, Spain, ahead of the tournament over the border in France, and the city’s party reputation proved too tempting to ‘Gazza’.

Later admitting in an interview that he went out the night before the final 22-man squad was picked, Gascoigne candidly said: “Yes I was drunk. I got drunk quite quickly – I’d not had a drink in nine days.”

For Hoddle, that indiscretion was enough, and the following day he called the players in that he was cutting, and the Tottenham great was livid.

Ian Wright was called in afterwards, and the striker recalled how bad things had got when reflecting on the moment in 2020.


Hoddle, who was in charge of England from 1996-1999, made a big call before the 1998 World CupCredit: Getty

The Arsenal legend was expecting to be dropped, but instead, it was a more detailed chat about his inclusion and how he’d be utilised.

Those tactics must have been pretty in-depth, as Wright needed a distraction from the mess Gascoigne had left behind.

He recalled: “I was in next, I thought Glenn was calling me in to tell me that he’s not taking me for some reason but he called me in to tell me that he was and what he wanted me to do.

“I remember when I went in and we were actually talking about me being in the squad while cleaning the room up and fixing the mattress. Me and the gaffer were talking about what he needed from me and Michael [Owen] all the time while we were tidying the room up – things had been smashed to bits.

“I was embarrassed because I was thinking about how the gaffer had to deal with Gazza going mad in the room. I just naturally went in and started helping tidy stuff up.”

Wright was likely unaware of the fire that had just been lit back home, with Hoddle’s decision front and back page news on every newspaper.

That was of little surprise, with the media parked outside Gazza’s house for days after he arrived back home.

Later emerging to give his side of events, he said: “I completely lost it. I went mad, berserk. I lost my rag big time. I was shouting and swearing. I couldn’t believe the injustice of it.


Gascoigne came close to leading England to a Euro 1996 triumphCredit: Getty

“I was swearing. Everything came out. I let go of all the emotion building up inside me, I was so hurt.

“I gashed my knee as I kicked the door, I was crying and out of control. I didn’t want to talk to anybody and I didn’t want to listen to what Glenn had to say. There is nothing he could say.

“I wanted to be part of England’s World Cup glory but he has destroyed my biggest dream.”

For Gazza, he had plenty of support among ex-pros, with his former England coach Terry Venables commenting: “We are talking about 22 for a competition that lasts seven weeks. I would have taken him, watched his progress and been prepared to put him on the bench.

“The further you go in a big tournament like the World Cup or Euro 96 the more you need players who can make a difference in a match.”

England legend Jack Charlton added: “There are a lot of questions to be answered. Glenn might have answered all these things and he may be very happy. Hope so, I desperately hope so.”

Everyone and their grandma had an opinion on the matter, but the public wasn’t as supportive as the ex-pros, with one BBC poll claiming 58 per cent of voters backed Hoddle’s call.

As it turned out, though, Venables may have had the wisest viewpoint, with England making an early exit at the ‘98 World Cup.

Brazil, Parlour and McCoist debate who they’d rather have in their England side – Phil Foden on current ability, or a prime Paul Gascoigne

The Three Lions faced Argentina in the last 16, and despite a world-class Owen performance twice putting them ahead, they missed Gascoigne’s guile to kill off the South Americans.

Fortunately for both Gascoigne and Hoddle, the media and England fans had a new enemy. David Beckham’s red card in the 2-2 draw – which Argentina won on penalties – meant the hotel destruction was completely forgotten.

However, the damage from La Manga was irreparable. Gascoigne would never play for England again, and Hoddle would no longer coach the team. A partnership that promised so much was ended in an instant, never to be repaired – much like the mattress.

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