Updated: 06/01/2020 20:28
22 years have passed, but Paul Merson a former player for Arsenal and for the English team, remembers it as if it were yesterday. The midfielder has reported on Sky Sports the episode of anger suffered P aul Gascoigne upon learning that he was not on the coach's list of 22 Glen Hoddle for the 1998 World Cup in France, in which he had to be an indirect protagonist. The events occurred in the beginning of June of that 1998. Hoddle had taken 28 players to a stage in La Manga del Mar Menor. Six discards had to leave this group before traveling to France. Few expected that Gascoigne would be one of them. The coach made a morning training and then gave the afternoon off to his players. Afterward, he gathered them all in the hotel pool and called them, one by one, to his room. "I had been bowling with other boys," explains Merson, "Gascoigne went to play golf." “It was my turn to go up just after Gazza, so I didn't know he was left out. When I entered the room Hoddle was white, it seemed that he had seen a ghost, Everything in the room was destroyed, there were chairs thrown everywhere, the lamps … ». Merson admits that when leaving to speak with Hoddle he felt a little guilty. "I thought I was taking your place." "Gazza is the best English player I have ever played with," continues Merson. "He couldn't have been left out for football reasons, it was too good." Years later, Gascoigne himself recognized that Hoddle had made a correct decision leaving him out of that World Cup. By then he already had problems with alcohol and his physical shape left a lot to be desired. «The saddest thing I did in my life was to leave Gascoigne out of that World Cup. I gave him as many opportunities as I could, but he wasn't ready for that tournament. " In the 98 World Cup, England ended up being eliminated in the round of 16 by Argentina, after falling in the penalty shootout.