As Eric Cantona embarked on what turned out to be his final season at OT, it was clear the King craved a European crown. Here's our latest classic interview from September 1996...
You didn’t play in Euro ’96 over the summer. Did you watch any of the matches?
I didn’t watch many games. Two of the best of the few I saw were England against Holland and England against Germany, though before the tournament a lot of people had questioned English football at international level.
Were you surprised with the way England performed?
No, I wasn’t. They had to prove they were a good team and, even though they didn’t win the European Championship, England proved they were the best there. They were just unlucky. They were very disciplined, they played attractive football. Many people spoke about the typical English player not having good technique; I’ve always said that English players have good technique and show it in all aspects of their play. They passed the ball well in midfield and on the wings. Gascoigne, McManaman, Anderton and the two strikers all tried to play exciting football, five attacking players. So many of the other teams played boring football. So many defenders, so many players in midfield. No imagination, no flair at all – especially the French. The French have some very good players but the best ones were not playing [laughs]. I think if I had been in the French team, I would have given my best. But for a player like me, it would have been very difficult to enjoy myself and give something to the team, given the system and tactics the French team played.
At the France v Czech Republic game at Old Trafford people walked out…
Yes. There are so many good players in France. At the moment the French national team could play very attractive football, beautiful football, and win. Instead they draw. They hadn’t scored for 20 minutes and when they lost, nobody cried. When France lost to Germany at the World Cup in Spain in 1982, everybody cried. I cried. But this time, nobody cared. This time, nobody talked about their games. Nobody spoke about the French national team. That’s a bad thing for people, for the young – they have nothing to dream about. If I were a young child and I saw a game like that, the one against the Czechs, I wouldn’t want to play football. I’d want to be a gymnast or a cyclist but not a footballer. Games like that do nothing to