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NO SEX PLEASE, WE'RE ENGLISH; Hoddle wants wives to lift spirits only.

GLENN HODDLE has agreed that wives and girlfriends can join his squad at the World Cup - but he warned the players not to sexploit the situation.

Hoddle spoke for the first time last night about the role they will play in pursuit of his dream of lifting the greatest prize in sport. He said: "They will come out to the World Cup at the right time. The reason for them being invited over? To lift the players - not to have sex."

Hoddle will not impose a sex ban on the players should they reach the last 16 and be reunited with their partners.

Although Hoddle answered the question yesterday about his sex-before- games policy with a grin, there is a serious side to the England coach's decision.

Hoddle plans everything meticulously and he believes that the players will need a break during the tournament, when they will want to relax with their loved ones.

There will be a reunion with the female 'team' but it won't be until after the first stage of three qualifying games - and may be delayed until the quarter final stage should England make further progress.

Hoddle angered women's groups when he selected Paul Gascoigne after the Mirror exposed his attack on wife Sheryl.

Hoddle was under intense pressure at that time to ditch Gazza. But he made the decision on footballing grounds to stick by him.

Of course, he has now kicked him out - exasperated by his lifestyle and lack of fitness. But Hoddle's cheeky comments about why the wives and girlfriends are being invited to the World Cup might gain him some lost ground with feminists.

The World Cup is a big turn off for a large section of the country, with women in particular fed up with the volume of sport on TV this summer.

But Hoddle might endear himself and his players to the nation's women with his view that the players' wives and girlfriends have a role to play in helping England win the World Cup.

Whatever happens, the current group of England wives and girlfriends are far better off than the partners of England's 1966 World Cup winning team. They had to wait outside as the FA staged the celebration banquet at the Royal Lancaster Hotel in London following the historic 4-2 victory over West Germany.

They were only allowed in once the meal had finished and the dancing had begun.

It is unlikely that the current team's partners would put up with such treatment if they win this year's tournament.

In Italy in 1990, Bobby Robson flew over the team's wives and girlfriends to the pre-tournament base in Sardinia.

They flew home before the big kick-off but returned on a special day trip when England reached the semi-final against the Germans in Turin. Wives and girlfriends were also flown out to Mexico before the 1986 World Cup.

Meanwhile, David Beckham yesterday handed out a red card to those who ridiculed his sarong.

The glamour boy of England's World Cup squad wore his fashionable sarong when he stepped out with Posh Spice, Victoria Adams, during the players' three-day break before joining up to travel to France.

And Beckham, in his first interview since arriving in France, insisted that he will wear it again if the mood takes him.

Beckham, talking on Radio Five Live last night, said: "I think that my taste in dress sense has nothing to do with anyone else. If I'm comfortable wearing it I'll carry on wearing it."

Beckham recalls that he watched the last World Cup at his mum and dad's, dreaming that one day he would play in the World Cup. He was 15 at the time, but says: "Really, this is like being in the middle of a dream. I have always wanted to play in the World Cup."

Now it's getting closer to reality, with the opening game against Tunisia just four days away.

He says: "I'm very excited. I am only 23 but I've played for one of the biggest clubs in the country, if not the world.

"When I watched the opening game I got the first shiver. It had not really kicked in that I was involved in the World Cup until I saw the Brazil- Scotland game.

"Now I can't wait. I'm not one who gets nervous about things and I've played in Cup Finals and Champions' League games, and that helps. With me, it's excitement more than nerves."
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:Sport
Author:Harris, Harry
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jun 12, 1998
Words:741
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