Euro 2016: QPR favourite Andy Sinton recalls unusual tale of his England call-up in 1992
PUBLISHED: 07:00 09 June 2016
Former QPR and England winger Andy Sinton endured a roller-coaster ride of emotions in the build up to Euro 1992, as he recalls an unusual tale of his call up to the Three Lions squad that summer.
Sinton, who now works as a club ambassador at Loftus Road, was 26 when he was selected by Graham Taylor to be a part of the England squad to travel to Sweden, although just a couple of weeks prior to that his lifelong dream was in serious jeopardy.
Sinton’s wife was expecting their first child, Daniel, at the time, but with her not due to give birth for another three weeks Sinton didn’t envisage anything happening imminently. Little did he know what would unfold next.
Speaking exclusively to this title he said: “We played Brazil at Wembley [on May 17] and drew 1-1 in what was a good, competitive friendly for us.
“We went back to the hotel after the game and were notified that Graham would be holding a meeting in the morning (Monday) to announce his 20-man squad.
“The opportunity to play for your country is huge, but the added incentive of representing them at a major tournament was an opportunity I didn’t want to miss out on.
“I then got a call from my wife in the early hours of the morning who told me something was happening [with the baby] so I needed to get home right away.
“I had to knock on the manager’s door at 5am and tell him that I had to miss the meeting as I needed to be with my wife as she was going into labour.
“He actually gave me some news then, and it wasn’t what I wanted to hear. He said he was waiting for John Barnes to prove his fitness so unless he didn’t recover from his injury, I wasn’t going to make the squad.
“In the taxi on the way home my mind was full of emotions. I was on the ultimate high from hearing the news from my wife, but then felt the ultimate low after being told I was only on standby for the upcoming European Championship.”
Little did Sinton know that things would work out in his favour in the end, with Barnes rupturing his right Achilles tendon in England’s final warm-up game against Finland in Helsinki, meaning he had made the final cut after all.
He added: “Still looking back now it’s quite unbelievable. I was always John Barnes’ understudy and I say that with pride, because John was one hell of a player.
“It was obviously unfortunate for him, but at the same time I was on a real high and felt I deserved it.”
The campaign itself was a disaster, as England bowed out at the group stages, with Sinton playing in all but one of their games.
“We started off with a draw against Denmark, a result perceived as a very poor one to many, but they proved to be the surprise package of the tournament and won it,” he explained.
“I then played at right wing-back against France [in a stalemate]. That meant we went into the last game against the hosts (Sweden), needing three points.
“We started off well with David Platt giving us an early lead, but the Swedes pegged us back and we went on to lose the game which confirmed our exit.
“So from that perspective the tournament was tinged with sadness and disappointment, but at the same time I still look back on it with fond memories as it was a fantastic achievement by myself to represent England at a major tournament like the Euros.”
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