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Tuesday, April 21, 1998 Published at 08:37 GMT 09:37 UK

Sport: Football

Have faith in Hodd
image: [ Hoddle:
Hoddle: "If you cut your finger it heals - she can trigger that"

England coach Glenn Hoddle has defended his latest signing - faith healer Eileen Drewery.

Hoddle says 75% of his squad have already voluntarily seen the Berkshire housewife to help them prepare for the World Cup finals.

"We are making sure that they will be physically and mentally in the best possible shape," he added.

"They will be in better shape than any England squad going to any World Cup before."

Glenn Hoddle examines his options
Hoddle, who assembled his squad for Wednesday's Wembley friendly against Portugal, added: "We've been using Eileen for 18 months. Three-quarters of the lads have seen her and now she's coming to the hotel rather than us going to her. It saves on expenses, I suppose."

The coach himself has consulted the faith healer for 24 years and believes she can help his injury-prone players.

He explained: "If you cut your finger, what will happen to it within four or five days? It heals. That's because there's a natural mechanism in the body which is the one of healing.

"She can trigger that off. It's as simple as that."

Hoddle said cynics should keep an "open mind", adding: "It's nothing new. Countries have been using it all round the world for thousands of years."

[ image: Ian Wright: fighting to be fit]
Ian Wright: fighting to be fit
The coach has been hit with a series of injuries to key players in the build up to France but says he knows "three-quarters" of the team he wants.

One man battling to regain his place is Arsenal striker Ian Wright, back in the England squad despite a long-lay off with a hamstring injury.

Ian Wright: "I have to be patient"
"It's good to be with the lads. Because I haven't been involved for so long there's so much to talk about. But I want to be fit and playing," said Wright.

Scotland also continue their World Cup warm-up with a friendly against Finland at Easter Road on Wednesday.

Manager Craig Brown is likely to give a chance to striker Scott Booth, currently with Dutch club Utrecht.

"This is my chance to stake my claim and prove to Craig Brown I am playing as well as ever," said Booth.

"There are a lot of strikers in contention and we all have a chance so it's up to me to perform."


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