Paul Gascoigne has reflected on his heartbreaking France ’98 snub and the awkward meeting he had with Glenn Hoddle shortly after England crashed out of the tournament.
Gazza had been the darling of English football, lighint up Italia 90 and Euro 96, but paid the price for his lifestyle and off-field issues as he was omitted from England’s squad for the World Cup in 1998.
The mercurial midfielder had been involved in all the qualifying games and friendlies leading up to tournament and was included in the provisional squad before being among those cut by Hoddle at the final minute.
England went on to lose to Argentina in the last 16 on penalties – the infamous game where David Beckham was shown a red card for a kick out at Diego Simeone.
Gascoigne never played for the Three Lions again and Hoddle was left to rue what might have been in what proved to be his one and only tournament as England boss.
In an exclusive interview with Ally McCoist for talkSPORT, Gazza recalled the aftermath of his axeing and how he reacted when he had a chance encounter with Hoddle soon after.
“I always remember Walter Smith and Terry Venables saying to us ‘just be careful, he might want to make a name out of you’. I thought nothing of it,” he said of being snubbed by Hoddle.
“I remember being on the flight back, there was me, Ian Walker, Carlton Palmer – we were all crying.
“I remember thinking the press are going to be on us like hound dogs. I’ve never seen so much press outside the house I was staying in.
“In my head I said ‘at least I played in one World Cup and did myself proud’.
“I eventually had the courage to leave the house and remember going to a hotel in London and England were by then out.
“I opened the lift and Glenn Hoddle was standing in the lift. He just looked at us and went ‘sorry what happened’. I just got off at the next floor and didn’t saying anything.
“A few years later when I bumped into him again I said it was all forgotten about. I’m one of those who just moves on.
“That was probably the biggest disappointment I’ve had in my career.”
On Tuesday, June 8, talkSPORT brings you a brilliant exclusive as Ally McCoist spends an hour in conversation with his former Rangers team-mate, and opponent at Euro 96, Paul Gascoigne to look back on their careers for club and country.