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Becks appeal

What really happened after David Beckham got sent off against Argentina?

John Gorman, the ex-England assistant boss during the 1998 World Cup, gives a frank and revealing account from the dressing room of the Three Lions' campaign 20 years on

John Gorman has gone Beck to the future to ‘paint’ an England World Cup scene he hopes will never be repeated.

The Scot was Glenn Hoddle’s No 2 when David Beckham was infamously sent off for kicking out at Diego Simeone in a World Cup last-16 classic 20 years ago.

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David Beckham and Diego Simeone react to the incident that led to the England star's notorious red card

AFP - Getty
David Beckham and Diego Simeone react to the incident that led to the England star’s notorious red card at the 1998 World Cup

Argentina went on to KO England on penalties.

And Gorman, who is now a painter sketching superstars like Harry Kane, recreates that scene from the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard in Saint-Etienne, on June 30, 1998.

The 68-year-old goes on to detail a little-known story of how the country’s future captain went in search of a memento after the match.

He revealed: “We were all in the car park seeing our wives and kids.

David Beckham went in search of Juan Sebastian Veron’s shirt after the match

Getty - Contributor
David Beckham went in search of Juan Sebastian Veron’s shirt after the match

John Gorman now paints famous footballers - 20 years after being England coach

Jamie McPhilimey - The Sun
John Gorman now paints famous footballers – 20 years after being England coach

“Becks was also with his family but I remember him trying to get Juan Sebastian Veron’s shirt because he was a big fan of his.

“Back then, Becks was just a young player with a great future and Veron was one of the better players.

“And even though he’d been sent off, he still felt he would like to get a shirt of a famous player at that time.

“Not many people know that. It’s never come out.”

Danish referee Kim Milton Nielsen shows the red card to devastated David Beckham

AP:Associated Press
Danish referee Kim Milton Nielsen shows the red card to David Beckham

Beckham, who would go on to play with Veron at Manchester United, endured a rough ride following his red card, with many blaming him for England’s World Cup exit.

But Gorman denies that his own team turned on him, even though Becks claimed in his autobiography that Tony Adams was the only player to console him in the dressing room.

The Scot said: “I was a bit disappointed when he said that.

“Everybody was fine with him, nobody blamed him.

“Glenn never came storming in and screaming at him.

“Afterwards the press criticised Glenn for not putting his arm around him but you are not going to come in and say, ‘Never mind’.

Becks and Veron would become Manchester United team-mates later in their careers

Getty Images - Getty
Becks and Veron would become Manchester United team-mates later in their careers

“Not being funny, but he’s just got sent off and it’s not the kind of thing you say ‘Well done’ to.

“It wasn’t two bookings or a tackle where he went in to try and win the ball – it was a silly one, even if it was a soft decision.

“But I remember talking to him – I went up and put my arm around him.

“And he just said, ‘Can you apologise to the gaffer?’ – he was feeling that bad about it.”

David Beckham, seen with wife Victoria, faced difficult times after his red card against Argentina in 1998

AP:Associated Press
England midfielder David Beckham, seen with wife Victoria, faced difficult times after his red card against Argentina in 1998

Beckham’s moment of madness came two minutes after half-time.

By that point Gabriel Batistuta and Alan Shearer had already traded spot-kicks, Michael Owen had scored a wonder goal and Javier Zanetti had equalised for Argentina following a clever free-kick routine.

The match ended up going to penalties, but not before England had what would have been an extra-time golden goal ruled out, when Sol Campbell scored a header but Shearer was penalised for a foul.

Gorman said: “After Becks was sent off, the team was immense.

“Just before the penalty shoot-out, the referee said, ‘Don’t worry John, you’re going to win’.

Gorman on key characters

“He was a very respectful person and such a dedicated player.

“It doesn’t surprise me that he’s become a manager because he was listening all the time and learning. He’d be like a sponge.

“He would be the first to admit he was not the most talented but he was a total team player.

“I hope he’ll do well. The experience that he had in that World Cup as a player can only help him.”

“It was a nonsense him getting the sack and I think everybody is now realising how good a manager he was.

“Glenn had a style of play that everybody loved and one that England had never had before.

“He was only a young manager then and the more experience you get, the better you become.

“We never thought as far ahead as Euro 2000 but it would have been nice to have continued with that team and those players because there were more coming through.”

“Even though we loved him, it was the right decision not to take him to the World Cup.

“We were at training camp in La Manga when Glenn told him he was not going to be in the squad.

“When Gazza came in to see Glenn, he’d just had a few beers on the golf course and was a wee bit excitable.

“I said to him, ‘Gazza calm down’ and he got me round the shirt – he was worried about what was coming and he’d gone a wee bit mad.

“I took him to Glenn’s room and he calmed right down, then I left and the next thing you know, all hell broke loose.

“I could hear it from my room and I had to get Paul Ince and David Seaman over to help get him out.

“Gazza kicked something and injured his own leg – he probably couldn’t have played anyway after that!”

“For a referee to think we were going to win because we deserved it, it does not happen.

“He must have wanted us to win because he felt bad in some ways that he had sent a man off and we’d played so well even after that.”

Sadly Kim Milton Neilsen was wrong, with the shoot-out ending in familiar fashion, as Paul Ince and David Batty both missed.

Smiling as he recalls another tale, Gorman said: “I caught Batts sunbathing on the day of the game!

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John Gorman was quick to console England stars like Michael Owen after they lost their World Cup last-16 tie on spot-kicks against Argentina

“The players were given time for a rest in the afternoon and I thought everyone would be in their rooms sleeping.

“But Batts was rooming next door to me and I remember looking over the fence and there he was getting a bit of sun! He couldn’t even get a sun tan anyway, he’s as white as a sheep.

“People criticise me and Glenn because Batts said afterwards that he never practised penalties.

“But we all practised. We took them all the time.

Diego Simeone vehemently protests after David Beckham flicked out a boot at him

Getty - Contributor
Diego Simeone vehemently protests after David Beckham flicked out a boot at him

“You just don’t know who will end up taking them because it depends who is on the pitch.

“Beckham would have taken one and so would Teddy Sheringham, who was off.

“Paul Merson took one and he is good, Michael brilliant, Alan brilliant.

“And then the two gutsy boys who wouldn’t have taken one, Incey and Batts, stood up and said ‘No problem’ before other players who didn’t want to take them.

Scot John Gorman was Glenn Hoddle's assistant boss with England from 1996-99

Getty Images - Getty
Scot John Gorman was Glenn Hoddle’s assistant boss with England from 1996-99

“Batts said, ‘Give it to me, I’ll take all the glory’. They were his words.

“He juggled the ball as he walked up, calm and collected, then the keeper saved it.

“Afterwards he was fantastic. He just shrugged his shoulders, said, ‘I’ve done my best’ – he didn’t worry about it one iota because he’s got so much character.

“I loved him. His dry sense of humour was probably the best.”

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Referee Kim Milton Nielsen changed the course of the night by sending off David Beckham

Getty - Contributor
Kim Milton Nielsen changed the course of the tie by sending off David Beckham

Gorman firmly believes England would have gone on to win that World Cup had they got past Argentina.

He said: “It was a terrible feeling going out because we all felt it was too soon.

“I watched the Argentina game back right away but Glenn didn’t watch it for years, he couldn’t watch it.

“I think if we’d have made one more stage, the confidence would have grown.

“We had such a good squad. I think the players now realise that team was good enough to win it.

“We felt we could beat anybody.”

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For Gorman, who lost his wife Myra to cancer 12 years ago, France 98 now feels like “another world”.

He admitted: “I was proud. Being Scottish, I got a lot of stick from different people.

“But it was an honour to be involved and work with players of that level.

“It’s almost like a dream, like it happened to somebody else.

“I can’t believe it’s been 20 years but it’s nice to know that people still talk to you about that game.”

David Beckham went on to become England skipper on his way to 115 caps

David Beckham went on to become England skipper on his way to 115 caps

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