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Monday, November 8, 1999 Published at 16:59 GMT


England squad guide



England are led from the front by skipper Alan Shearer, the man with the most goals in the squad, although Michael Owen will surely one day catch him up.

Battle of Britain
At the back there are experienced defenders, particularly those from Arsenal, while Manchester United midfielders David Beckham and Paul Scholes play a crucial role.


Goalkeepers

David Seaman (Arsenal)
age 36, caps 53


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Seaman's laid-back manner, chewing gum as he nonchalently commands the area behind the famous Arsenal defence, has made him a hero for club and country.

Recent injury problems have been followed by doubts over his form in recent weeks, and he can no longer be considered the automatic no 1 choice for his country, or even possibly at his club.

But the man with possibly the most famous moustache in football is feared by the Scots, who remember him brilliantly saving Gary McAllister's penalty during the last meeting of the teams at Euro 96.


Nigel Martyn (Leeds Utd)
age 33, caps 12


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Martyn's consistency during Leeds' march to the top of the Premiership, as well as assured international performances mean Seaman has a genuine challenge for the no 1 shirt.

The big Cornishman waited a long time for his chance at the highest level but did not disappoint during Seaman's recent injury-enforced absence.

With Kevin Keegan giving the pair a half each in the recent friendly with Belgium, Martyn might still have a chance of starting against Scotland.


Ian Walker (Tottenham)
age 28, caps 3


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The Spurs keeper has forced his way back into the reckoning after suffering at the hands of Gianfranco Zola at Wembley in 1997.

Many blamed him for the Italian's deflected winner, which might have cost England dear in the World Cup qualifying campaign.

Last week's superb performance in defeat for Spurs in Germany proved that Walker is back to his best, and he has held off the challenge of young keepers Richard Wright and Nicky Weaver.


Defenders

Tony Adams (Arsenal)
age 33, caps 60, goals 4


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The Adams story is well-known - the man who used to suffer "donkey" chants while playing after drinking binges is now a model professional and a more-than-capable footballer.

He is also one of the most experienced and popular men in the squad, even if he has had to put up with doubts over his form and a painful back injury.

Englishmen everywhere will hope that Adams has got over Arsenal's morale-deflating exit from the Champions League by the time he next sings God Save the Queen on 13 November.


Sol Campbell (Tottenham)
age 25, caps 27


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England's strongman flourished under Glenn Hoddle's management, but injuries have set him back in the Keegan era.

His dramatic charge upfield against Columbia in the last World Cup almost led to one of the goals of the tournament, and confirmed he has the ball-playing ability to match his defensive qualities.

Much to the concern of Spurs fans the big man remains coveted by big clubs across Europe, and he could have an important part to play in the play-offs.


Rio Ferdinand (West Ham)
age 21, caps 8


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With a range of passing rare among English defenders, the young Hammer is now developing the defensive reliability to match his precocious talent.

Ferdinand can perform in any central defensive role, and has also featured as an attacking right back.

Wherever he plays he adds a bit of quality to the steel around him, although he is unlikely to be a first choice starter against Scotland.


Stephen Froggatt (Coventry)
age 26, caps 0


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Keegan's surprise call-up has survived injury problems which at one stage left a question mark over his health, let alone his career.

He began as a flying teenage winger in Ron Atkinson's Aston Villa side before frustration led to a move to Wolves, where he suffered knee problems and a blood clot which put him out for six months.

Froggatt battled back, and his form as an attacking wing-back at Molineux led to a Premiership return with Coventry.


Steve Guppy (Leicester)
age 30, caps 1


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One of the stars of Martin O'Neill's Leicester squad, after a career which took him from Wycombe to Port Vale, via a short spell under Keegan at Newcastle.

Became a frequently-suggested candidate for England's problem left side after a series of accurate crosses in the Premiership.

Was finally given an opportunity against Belgium last month, and should Keegan decide on three central defenders and two wing-backs, there are few better at performing this demanding role.


Martin Keown (Arsenal)
age 33, caps 26, goals 1


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Keown is a tenacious defender, who marks opponents like a limpet and tackles in an unspectacular but effective manner.

Like the rest of Arsenal's defenders, he has blossomed after passing 30, forming a formidable partnership with Adams at club and international level.

If Keegan chooses a 3-5-2 formation Keown should hang on to his place, but Campell's return threatens his appearance if the formation is 4-4-2.


Phil Neville (Man Utd)
age 22, caps 20


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The younger Neville has not had as many chances for club or country as his injured brother Gary, but is a versatile performer comfortable on the right or left of defence or even midfield.

Was devastated to miss out on Glenn Hoddle's final France 98 squad as the former coach decided to go to the World Cup with only one recognised left back.

A valuable substitute thanks to his utility player status, and like the rest of his club-mates possesses experience beyond his years thanks to United's European exploits.


Gareth Southgate (Aston Villa)
age 29, caps 32, goals 1


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Sadly for the Villa captain, he will always be remembered for the Euro 96 penalty miss against the Germans.

But his contribution in helping England to that semi-final has not been forgotten, and he has convinced both Hoddle and Keegan that he is worth a place in almost every squad since that Wembley night.

While strong forwards are sometimes capable of knocking Southgate off his stride, he is an intelligent leader and a reliable performer with superb positional sense.


Midfielders

David Beckham (Man Utd)
age 24, caps 25, goals 1


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One of Europe's top midfielders, and arguably the best right-sided crosser of the ball in world football. Just ask Dwight Yorke or Andy Cole.

Also of course the biggest superstar in the England team, even if his popularity in his own country is far from universal due to his France 98 sending off.

Recent events have shown his temperament may still be suspect, and England fans will pray for good behaviour against the Scots.


Paul Ince (Middlesbrough)
age 32, caps 46, goals 2


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The veteran hero of England's last dramatic qualification showdown - 1997's stubborn 0-0 draw with Italy in Rome.

Last season started badly with a sending off in Sweden and a subsequent international ban to coincide with an indifferent season at Liverpool.

A summer move to the Riverside Stadium rekindled his international career, and his experience and hard tackling is invaluable in the absence of the suspended David Batty.


Steve McManaman (Real Madrid)
age 27, caps 26, goals 2


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Apart from Ince, McManaman is the only England squad member who has left the cosy surroundings of the Premiership for foreign shores.

His summer move to Real sparked an improvement in form after a difficult final season with Liverpool, although injury has disrupted his good start at the struggling Spanish giants.

England fans will hope that the foreign experience rubs off on the talented midfielder's international form, which has often been patchy to say the least.


Ray Parlour (Arsenal)
age 26, caps 4


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Parlour rose to prominence in Arsenal's double-winning season of 1997/98 and many considered him unlucky not to be considered for France 98.

Under Arsene Wenger the right-sided midfielder has improved on the pitch and matured off it.

Parlour is Beckham's likely replacement if anything happens to the Manchester United star.


Jamie Redknapp (Liverpool)
age 26, caps 15, goals 1


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No-one has ever doubted Redknapp's natural ability as one of the best passers of a ball in English football, and he also possesses a wicket shot.

He finally demonstrated his scoring ability at international level against Belgium last month, yet cannot be regarded an automatic selection for the play-offs.

Scots will remember him as one of the stars of the Euro 96 meeting, where his introduction as a half-time substitute sparked England's improvement in their 2-0 win.


Paul Scholes (Man Utd)
age 24, caps 18, goals 7


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A natural goalscorer playing in midfield is an asset to any team, and Scholes is a better finisher of chances than most strikers.

A hat trick in Keegan's opening game followed numerous crucial strikes for club and country, including a goal in England's opening match at France 98.

His only fault was demonstrated in Keegan's second competitive match in charge, when over-enthusiastic tackling led to a sending off.


Trevor Sinclair (West Ham)
age 27, caps 0


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One of the stars of Harry Redknapp's attractive Hammers side, uncapped Sinclair has been included in an England squad for the second time.

A versatile wide player, who can slot in as wing-back or play in a more advanced role, he is an unlikely starter for either of the play-off matches.

Renowned as a scorer of spectacular goals, he made his name at QPR, where he became the most sought after player in the Nationwide League.


Dennis Wise (Chelsea)
age 32, caps 13, goals 1


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Like Ince, another veteran who has been given a chance by Keegan after a period in the wilderness.

Doubts have always surrounded his temperament, and he is still getting involved in too much on-field trouble for many, and he comes into the play-offs midway through another Premiership suspension.

But Chelsea's recent excellent performances in Europe have seen a major contribution from this hard-working yet talented Englishman, who plays alongside west London's galaxy of foreign stars.


Forwards

Andy Cole (Man Utd)
age 28, caps 5


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Was thought unlikely to make the squad even before he went public with his criticism of former club boss Keegan and Shearer a fortnight before the play-off games.

Keegan put it aside, realising that Cole is one of the Premiership's in-form strikers, having already reached double figures this season.

His club form has never been repeated on the international stage, but he is now taking many more of the chances that come his way, and might just seize this one.


Emile Heskey (Leicester)
age 21, caps 3


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A strongman in every sense of the word, apart from perhaps in the all-important area of goalscoring.

Heskey has all the pace and power that any striker could want, yet he has never really hit the back of the net with great regularity during his short career.

He missed an open goal during the friendly with Belgium but still has plenty of time to learn how to fully punish defenders unable to stop his bulk.


Michael Owen (Liverpool)
age 19, caps 16, goals 5


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The star of France 98, not just for England but for many elsewhere in the world, yet all has not gone well with the golden boy in recent months.

That run and goal against Argentina created massive expectations, which Owen seems perfectly capable of meeting provided he can stay fit.

Hamstring problems are a worry for any player who relies on pace , and Keegan's biggest single hope must be that Owen's have cleared up by the time of the Hampden kick off.


Kevin Phillips (Sunderland)
age 26, caps 2


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From non-league football to the top of the Premiership goal charts, Phillips' rise has been almost as meteoric as Owen's.

He is already established as one of England's most dangerous strikers after a third-of-a-season in the top flight.

A finisher from any angle, with either foot or his head, it still remains to be seen whether Phillips is good enough to make the most of the limited number of chances available on the international stage.


Alan Shearer (Newcastle)
age 29, caps 54, goals 28


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England's captain and top scorer is the only squad member from either side to have scored in a previous meeting, with his goal starting England off towards their 2-0 win in Euro 96.

Many have long suspected that he writes his own script, and even when his footballing talents appeared to be on the wane recently, his strong will was much in evidence as Ruud Gullit was sent packing from St James Park.

Since then the typical Shearer finishing and physical presence have returned for a rejuvenated player who Keegan values above all others.





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