Leeds United star deserves chance but crazy story of yesteryear offers hope - Tony Dorigo

Ex-Whites star Tony Dorigo writes exclusively for the YEP and recalls a ‘crazy’ story from his own playing days that could offer particular hope to a Leeds United pair as full focus falls on the international sphere.
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There are no Leeds United players in Gareth Southgate's latest England squad which is the last squad before this winter's World Cup.

But there's still an outside chance that someone like Patrick Bamford or Jack Harrison could get themselves a call up although it is an outside chance, there's no doubt about that.

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But you never say never, you never know what is going to happen with injuries and to be fair there has been a history of players getting in at the last minute.

SPEAKING FROM EXPERIENCE: Leeds United hero Tony Dorigo in action for England against Iceland back in April 1991.
Photo by Shaun Botterill/Allsport via Getty Images.SPEAKING FROM EXPERIENCE: Leeds United hero Tony Dorigo in action for England against Iceland back in April 1991.
Photo by Shaun Botterill/Allsport via Getty Images.
SPEAKING FROM EXPERIENCE: Leeds United hero Tony Dorigo in action for England against Iceland back in April 1991. Photo by Shaun Botterill/Allsport via Getty Images.

After all, it happened to me back in 1988 with England when I managed to get into the 88 European Championships squad.

Kenny Sansom was the main left back and then there was Stuart Pearce oy myself and we weren't quite sure what was going to happen.

I think Stuart got a bit of an injury and I didn't really know what was going to happen as I hadn't been there before.

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But then suddenly, bang, there I am, I am in the squad and I am going to the tournament so that was an incredible experience.

That was certainly something I didn't expect but you just keep your head down and play well.

I actually got told on the day that I got relegated with Chelsea.

It was bizarre, absolutely bizarre.

After the game we were in the dressing room and sat down and the manager said 'I am disappointed for everyone but Tony, by the way, well done, you've been picked in the England squad.'

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Talk about a scrambled head, that's definitely what I had then.

So you never know what can happen and I think that's what the boys have to hang on to.

I got told in May and the tournament was in June. It was crazy.

You had Brian Robson, Glenn Hoddle, Peter Shilton, Peter Reid, Gary Lineker, all these great players and it was an amazing experience and my first cap actually came after that and I basically got picked before I played.

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You just never know what can happen and a lot of people have been plucked late.

In the 1990 World Cup, we had the three goalkeepers of Peter Shilton, David Seaman, and Chris Woods.

Everything was fine, we were appearing in Sardinia, and they used the new Tango ball and it really did move in the air a lot more than normal.

We were sending in some shots to David Seaman and someone hit a shot that was straight at him.

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He put his fingers straight towards the ball which moved and he broke his finger so he was out and Dave Beasant got called up so Beasant was suddenly in the World Cup squad.

I think he was off on his jollies so he got dragged back as you are off to the World Cup mate. Anything can happen.

Patrick Bamford's situation is more down to injuries and he has obviously been capped by England once before last summer.

But I suppose Jack Harrison is in a similar situation to myself in that he is still uncapped very close to a major international tournament.

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Jack has done fantastically well and he is such an honest player as well.

You look at all the stats and he is effective and that's the other thing - there is an end product and that is always improving.

When he first came to Leeds, that's what needed improving, but he has got better and better at that and he's getting that consistency which is coming with that maturity as well.

There's no doubt that people should be starting to talk about Jack for England and no doubt Gareth Southgate has been watching and had his scouts out there watching Jack intently as well.

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But we don't know exactly how Gareth wants to play and I think it's always difficult to try and get in the squad because there is that trust element and you need that manager to give you a chance.

Once the manager has seen you in training they can start to trust you but Gareth has gone through so many different players in that squad and you just wonder how Jack can force his way in.

But I think with what he has done and when you look at his stats and everything else he is right up there with all the best players that are playing out wide for England.

He's just got to keep doing what he's doing and be patient and, in terms of making the World Cup, it has happened before.

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Granted, there's a very slim chance but those boys just need to make sure they play at their best so that if and when that opportunity arises then one of them might get picked.

That's the important thing, never give up hope, they are always being watched, the camera is always on the boys and just got to keep performing as you can.

The only thing they should be thinking about is playing well for Leeds United and that will then hopefully reflect well if and when an opportunity comes.

Friday night's Leeds United under-21s game offered an opportunity for Bamford, Luke Ayling, Liam Cooper and Junior Firpo to all get decent minutes upon their recent recoveries from injuries and it's clearly important to have a full squad.

We really struggled last season.

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Now we've got more players, our bench is looking better but we still have some really good players to come back in.

I think it's always the case of how to get them back fit as quickly as possible and then when they are fit it's more to do with the match practice.

With what's happening at the moment, that becomes a bit more difficult.

But the under-21s game was perfect for them and it was really good to see them all back in action and getting plenty of minutes in their legs.

When we finally resume, it's looking like we're going to have just about a clean bill of health apart from Stuart Dallas.