Ian Wright explains how Arsenal star was axed by England after brutal joke
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A former Arsenal star's England career was almost ended after he made a brutal joke during the reign of former Three Lions boss Glenn Hoddle, Ian Wright has claimed.
Hoddle was manager of England between 1996 and 1999, being sacked after making controversial comments regarding disabled people and reincarnation in a January 1999 interview with The Times.
Part of the reason behind the interview was to respond to criticism over his decision to bring in a faith healer to treat England's players.
In a 2021 interview, Hoddle described the faith healer, Eileen Drewery, as 'an extension of the new medical staff'.
But there was bafflement amongst England supporters and sections of the press at the time - and not all the players liked the idea, as Wright confirmed in the latest episode of The Overlap's 'Stick to Football'.
He revealed that his former Arsenal team-mate Ray Parlour made a joke at Drewery's expense - and it led to the end of his England career under Hoddle.
You can watch the clip below.
Wright explained: "The boss got very spiritual and irate if you weren't up for it [seeing the faith healer].
"I remember Ray Parlour got blown out by him, because he never takes anything seriously. When you go in [to see the faith healer], you're sat there, and she comes behind you and hovers her hand over you.
"Ray Parlour said, 'Short back and sides please'. She told Glenn Hoddle and Ray was out."
The Arsenal midfielder had not made his debut before the incident, and would only make his debut after Hoddle was sacked in 1999.
The faith healer was brought in after the Three Lions suffered a second round exit in the 1998 World Cup, losing to Argentina on penalties in a game that saw David Beckham sent off for his kick on Diego Simeone.
Speaking about the incident, Parlour recalled: "I did think nothing of it [the short back and sides comment].
"I laughed, she laughed. She's ended up telling all the people at the bar, all the players. Next thing you know, it's front pages - short back and sides.
"Next squad comes out, I'm playing really well, back to full fitness. Not in the squad. I disrespected his faith, and 'I'm not going to pick you this year'. That year, I was absolutely distraught."
Parlour only went on to receive 10 caps for the Three Lions before his final appearance in 2000. He left Arsenal in 2004, and retired from professional football in 2007 after a short spell with Hull.