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Football: I'm a top operator ...get me over there; HODDLE'S AMAZING PLAN TO QUIT BRITAIN FOR EURO GLORY.

Byline: Neil ASHTON

GLENN HODDLE is the man who had everything - but today he's on the verge of walking out on his country with nothing.

Booted out by England bosses four years ago and sacked by Spurs last month, Hoddle has been forced to consider a career on the continent.

It shouldn't be that way of course. Idolised by Tottenham fans and recognised as one of the best players of his generation, Hoddle is the man who should still have the world at his feet.

But his reputation took a battering during his final days at Tottenham and he has faced up to the fact he may need to re-invent himself in another country.

Hoddle told The SP: "Going abroad would be a massive challenge, but it's one I'm prepared for.

"I've got some French under my belt after my time with Monaco and I'm going to learn the language again.

"Just thinking about the possibility excites me and it's something I'm seriously looking at."

Hoddle, 46 tomorrow, has been out of work since being sacked by Spurs last month, but is already preparing for a life abroad.

The former England coach revealed: "Two or three years ago I would have said moving abroad was unlikely but the more I think about it, the more appealing it becomes.

"It's a real possibility. I'd like to go for the experience and the challenge would really excite me.

"I'm not closing the door on English football because I think it's the best league in the world but, at the same time, I'm keeping my options open.

"The continent is a different way of life and there would be an awkwardness about it for the first six months.

"As a manager there would be a lot of obstacles, but I'm used to challenges and it's something I would be prepared to take on.

"I want to broaden my horizons. It's part of life's learning curve and I want to keep my options open.

"Managing in another country is so different to being a player. As a player you can get by for a while, but managers need to be able to communicate in the language.

"I would have to go through an interpreter to begin with and learn the language very quickly, but that sort of challenge doesn't frighten me in any way - it inspires me."

Hoddle is desperate to get back into management following his unsuccessful spell at Spurs.

He took a six month sabbatical after he was fired by England but returned to steady the ship at Southampton.

This time, Hoddle insists the experience of being sacked just six games into the season has fired him up.

Despite the setbacks - and he has suffered a fair few in recent months - Hoddle insists he is ready to go back to work tomorrow.

He added: "If the right situation came up, I'd go straight back in because I feel energised.

"The Spurs situation has made me very determined. The main thing now is for me to get on. If a vacancy arises and it feels right, then I will put all my time and energy into being successful. That's what drives me on. I'm determined to prove to myself I can bounce back from what was a big blow.

"I'm still young, but I've picked up a lot in a short space of time.

"Swindon was a fabulous apprenticeship, England was a great experience and so was Chelsea.

"I also loved being at Southampton and I only left there because the chance to manage my boyhood club - the team I went on to play for - came up.'' Hoddle insists that he has already got over his experience at Spurs, but refuses to rule out a return to White Hart Lane one day.

He added: "I got over Spurs quicker than I thought I would. My family are Spurs fans and it hit them just as hard, but I genuinely want the club to do well.

"I was sacked so soon into the season - too quickly in my view - and that's why I'm so motivated.

"I've got an open mind about my next move. There's a part of me that's unfulfilled but, as long as the ambition is there, I will be ready. I couldn't have put more effort and preparation into my time at Spurs.

"I took some knocks and bounced back and I will do the same again. All the external factors at the club didn't help but it will help me in the future.

"A lot of things would have to happen before I went back, but I wouldn't dismiss it. It's not about proving people wrong because I'm not bitter.

"It has simply made me more determined to succeed. There is frustration, but time will tell if the board made the right decision."


JUST THE SPUR: Hoddle's Spurs dismissal and fond memories of his time at Monaco have turned his thoughts abroad; BRAVE NEW WORLD: Hoddle is contemplating his continental options
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The People (London, England)
Date:Oct 26, 2003
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