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Irrational hatred of...
The Spurs-England connection
By Matt Bunner
Why is it that there are so many Spurs/Ex-Spurs players in the England squad? Is it the 'old boys network' working overtime with Venables and Hoddle? Or is it that they are that good? The ones that spring to mind instantly are: Walker, Campbell, Barmby, Sheringham, Scales, Gazza. Let me discuss their merits and try and deduce a logical explanation for their inclusion. If there are any I've missed, then they're not worth considering.

1. WALKER: Tee hee! Perhaps one of the funniest haircuts on a keeper I've seen. I'm sure there's a draw-string hanging by his ear to close the fringe. I've always thought he was average and nothing I've seen convinces me otherwise. To tell the truth, his understudy, Baardson, looks better. Maybe Walker has received exposure by the frailties of the Spurs defence, but surely the bloke's confidence must be undermined when he lets in six versus Bolton and seven versus Newcastle?. I was disappointed to see him in goal against the Italians: I felt uncomfortable seeing him in goal. Hoddle and principally Venables, must see something I don't.

2. CAMPBELL: Chuckle. One of his first games for Spurs was as a centre forward and all that was missing from that day was a carrot attached to his nose. Someone then told him that playing at the back is his forte. Always beware of striker-to-defender converts because they invariably get pulled out of position (just ask Zola). Spurs fans whinge that he has been their best defender, but when examining the shortlist, it's like selecting the best striker from Suker, Beadle and White. I cannot honestly think why he's in the squad. The best I can deduce is that the other candidates are from the same donkey farm.

3. BARMBY: Loud, uncontrollable laughter. He is best summed up with: f*** me, he's crap. Somebody said he's the new Peter Beardsley, but dear old Quassy has skill, awareness and looks. I remember Robson saying he'd got a bargain when he transferred Barmby from Spurs to Middlesbrough. Nuff said. Then he went to Everton, pronouncing that he had new desire and the fresh impetus to further his England career, but what nobody told him is that you've got to play football of a decent standard. Consequently, he was on the bench inside three months. I know a few Spurs fans and one Everton fan: when I ask about Nick Barmby they sigh very deeply. Come and join Aldershot FC now that Neil 'Tubby' Webb has gone.

4. SHERINGHAM: Ha. Now this will divide a few people, just as it did at the pub the other night. I was asked who would be the first two on my team sheet. I went for Shearer and Seaman. The bloke replied Shearer and Sheringham. Now I was puzzled by this as I thought the bloke was intelligent and knew about football (sweeping statement!). His main argument was the two work well together with Sheringham playing just off Shearer. I can see some of the benefits, but not how Sheringham plays it. I could write all day about this subject, but let me sum it up by pointing to the Georgia game at Wembley recently, where Sheringham, clearly frustrated at not receiving enough of the ball, was actually taking the ball off the defenders feet and passing it to the midfield, leaving Shearer to fend off four defenders. To me, his idea of playing off the central striker means anywhere in front of Seaman.

5. SCALES: Now that he has left Liverpool he suddenly comes into the England limelight. Why? He is a fine player, but was never on the fringes whilst at Anfield. Maybe because the match is a friendly against South Africa and therefore the stakes are low? Ask Hoddle why, if he ever gets off the phone to Roy Evans.

6. GAZZA: Who? A superb player before that tackle against Forest in the FA Cup Final. Now he's an BMW M3 with a Fiesta engine.

CONCLUSION: Who's worth it?

Sheringham, just. The others get in (Scales apart) because of their potential they offer(ed) in training whilst at Spurs. This is what Venables and Hoddle have seen during their time at WH Lane. It must be the Old Boys Network.