Wembley special: Daz so close
English Barclays Premiership
Darren Anderton was inches away from a place in English football folklore at the home of football.
The midfielder agonisingly hit the post in the golden goal extra time against Germany in the now famous Euro96 semi-final at Wembley.
Arguably the last great international under the Twin Towers — and without doubt the most prestigious — Germany went on to win on penalties when Gareth Southgate’s spot kick was saved.
Unfortunately Anderton will miss out when the curtains come down on the famous stadium on Saturday when fittingly Germany arrive in London again for a World Cup qualifying match.
He recalled: “Of course, I only have good memories of Wembley and that tournament especially. We lost the game but to be involved in that occasion was something you can’t bring back and probably will never get again. That whole time around Euro96 was unbelievable.
“As for hitting the post — it was just one of those things that happen
“I got my leg on the ball and it just unfortunately hit the post and went straight into the keeper’s hands. I thought we were unlucky on the night but that’s what football’s all about.”
Anderton was left out of Kevin Keegan’s plans for the qualifying games against Germany on Saturday and Finland next Wednesday because at the time the squad was selected, he was suffering from a groin injury.
He has made a rapid recovery since then though and played 70 minutes of a blood-and-thunder Premiership clash at Leeds on Saturday sandwiched between two full reserve outings.
Keegan has hinted that Anderton could be recalled for Wednesday’s match if injuries come into the equation but the 28-year-old admits he will glance an envious eye over the participants of Saturday’s historic occasion.
He added: “Playing for England is a great honour and I’ve been lucky enough to play at Wembley on many occasions. It’s the last game so all those involved will be very lucky.
“I’m sure we’ll all miss Wembley. It’s a special place and when you dream of playing for England that’s where you think it will happen. It will be missed, I’m sure.”