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Tuesday, August 11, 1998 Published at 00:51 GMT 01:51 UK

Sport: Football: News

Dropped Gazza 'went mad' says Hoddle

How The Sun is reporting the story

England's football coach Glenn Hoddle has revealed that Paul Gascoigne acted like "a man possessed" when he was dropped from the World Cup squad.

News 24 reports on Hoddle's warning to Gazza
According to reports in the Sun newspaper, Hoddle explains in his book chronicling England's World Cup campaign that Gazza lost control after being told he was overweight and out of time to make it into the final 22 for France earlier in the summer.

The controversial midfielder repeatedly swore, kicked over a chair and smashed a lamp in the team's Spanish hotel and appeared "half cut" from drinking, says Hoddle.

Glenn Hoddle speaking in June: 'It was not an enjoyable job telling him'
Hoddle controversially dropped Gascoigne just weeks before the start of the tournament, saying the Middlesbrough player had wasted his chances to prove match fitness.

It is the first time that Hoddle has detailed the stormy meeting between the pair.

But Gascoigne's adviser Mel Stein has criticised Hoddle for deciding to make the details public.

"We have regarded any conversations between us and Glenn Hoddle as private, and we continue to do so," he said.

Gazza 'snapped'

During the controversy following Gazza's dropping, Hoddle refused to confirm reports of a major row in the hotel.

[ image: Hoddle:
Hoddle: "Concerns became doubts"
But in his book, he is reported as saying: "I thought about trying to talk to him but knew I couldn't, not while he was in this state.

"He would never take it in. He had snapped. He was ranting, swearing and slurring his words. He was acting like a man possessed."

Hoddle says that he appeared to be dealing with the situation but then flew into a rage and kicked out at a chair with his bare foot.

"He was a different person now. He had snapped," writes Hoddle. "I stood there and he turned as if to go again, then came back with a barrage of abuse."

[ image: Troubled: Hoddle says he warned Gazza]
Troubled: Hoddle says he warned Gazza
The coach said that he had been concerned with Gascoigne's attitude since England's defeat by Chile at Wembley in February.

Those concerns, which focused on the player's mental state as well as match fitness, became serious doubts as Gascoigne failed to cut down on drinking.

Hoddle writes: "Physically he wasn't 100%, mentally he was all over the place."

'He could play again'

[ image: Clowning around: Gazza hours before decision]
Clowning around: Gazza hours before decision
Despite omitting Gascoigne from England's forthcoming European Championship training squad, Hoddle said that Gascoigne could play again at the highest level.

Hoddle said: "There are five things he needs to do - stop drinking, get fitter than ever before, change his diet, learn to control his emotions and stay injury-free.

"He needs to look inside himself and ask what he wants, where he is going and how he is going to get there.

"If he doesn't, nobody can help him."

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