Matt Le Tissier brightened many a nineties Saturday evening on Match of the Day with his slick flicks, nonchalant ball control and thunderous strikes. As a one-club man at Southampton, he helped the Saints stay in the Premier League despite their tiny ground and limited budget and brought joy to anyone who prefers a tricky turn or outlandish outside-of-the-box effort over a crunching tackle.
But he wasn’t always as appreciated by England managers, being awarded just eight caps and never playing in a major tournament despite a career full of cracking goals and dazzling play.
One of those managers was Glenn Hoddle, who turned up to manage Southampton a year after he’d snubbed the Saints man in his squad selection for France ’98 – awkward…
Matt revealed all on the latest episode of our From The Horse’s Mouth podcast. Listen to the full episode below.
“It’s funny because I had mixed feelings about it, I wanted to be Glenn Hoddle when I was a kid and he was still my hero,” he said.
“So I’m going to be training with my hero every day, and then I’d go, ‘oh yeah, but remember what happened with England?’ He’s actually a bit of a tw*t sometimes.”
The Saints schemer had hopes of being part of the England squad that went to the World Cup, but was left out having not received a call or message from the then England manager.
He added: “We didn’t really get on [at Southampton]. It was such a shame. As a bloke, we just didn’t really see eye to eye.
“I never really felt like I was being picked on by any manager during training and the like, apart from with Glenn.”
Though the Saints legend thought his gaffer might not have appreciated comparisons between each other as players.
“It was a massive compliment to me when I was compared to him because I did look up to him and tried to do what he did, but I don’t think he ever saw it as complimentary at all.
I think he saw it as quite derogatory, like I wasn’t on the same level.
“That’s fine if that’s his opinion. I don’t have a view on it either way. I thought we were pretty different players – I scored a lot more goals for a start. He got a load more England caps than me, and he won a lot more than I ever did.”
And, even if it cost him England appearances, there wasn’t the same issues at Southampton.
“I was probably past my best at that point anyway when he came in as manager, and I wasn’t having the same influence on the team.”
“But Southampton was just a stepping stone for Glenn at the time. He always wanted to get another job – and certainly wanted the Tottenham job, which is where he went from us. So he was only there a year, and in fairness, we played some cracking stuff under him.
“If anybody asks ‘who is the most tactically astute manager you played under?’, I would without question say Glenn Hoddle.”
“He had a knack of exposing opponents’ weaknesses that not many managers I played under ever did. From that point of view, he was the best manager I played under.
“But from a man-management point of view, he was probably the worst.”
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