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Euro 2020: Former England keeper Seaman looks back on denying McAllister from the spot at Euro 96

There is still one question that can't be explained away by that mystic mind. One unfortunate truth he is powerless to bend.

Twenty-five years ago, with Scotland trailing the Auld Enemy, Uri Geller hovered in a helicopter above Wembley and willed the ball to quiver before Gary McAllister's crucial spot-kick.

Or so the story goes. The ball certainly seemed to move; no doubt many England fans remain grateful to a higher force for McAllister's penalty striking the arm of David Seaman. But the beneficiary has one final query. 

David Seaman saved Gary McAllister's penalty at Euro 1996 as England beat Scotland 2-0

Seaman spoke of his excitement for this summer with England playing games at Wembley

'I did a podcast with him recently,' Seaman tells Sportsmail. 'I said, "Thanks for guiding it on to my elbow, Uri. Where were you when Germany were taking their penalties?".'

He can laugh now. The scars of semi-final heartbreak at Euro 96 have finally faded.

Recent reflections on that summer, though, have left Seaman feeling a bit funny — even without another dose of the supernatural. 

'I've had goosebumps,' Seaman admits. 'England playing at Wembley again, it just brought back so many great memories.'

More years of hurt have prompted 'a million' re-runs of football's last visit home. Seaman often digs out footage of another penalty save — against Spain in the quarter-final shootout. But recently?

'I've not had to go on YouTube because it's been all over the telly,' he laughs. 'Memories come flooding back to you.'

The fondest memory of all? 'Scotland,' Seaman says without hesitation. 'A strange game — the first half, not a lot happened. Then in the second everything did.

'I made a good save against Gordon Durie, then the penalty save, and then my mate nicked all my glory!'  

Goalkeeper Seaman enjoyed his fair share of highlights with England, particularly at Euro 96

Gareth Southgate played alongside Seaman during that 2-0 win. On Friday, both will be chewing their fingernails as the Tartan Army return.

For Terry Venables' side, victory in a first tournament meeting with Scotland was almost non-negotiable.

'Gazza was making sure we were right up for it,' Seaman recalls. Paul Gascoigne, then at Rangers, had told the squad: "I'm not going back up to Scotland if we don't beat these."

'It was all the time,' Seaman adds. 'Gazza can be like that. Once he gets something in his mind, he makes sure everybody knows about it. He was certainly more than up for it himself.'

After Alan Shearer nodded England in front, Seaman clawed away Durie's header and saved from McAllister. Then Gascoigne lifted the ball over Colin Hendry and took care of the rest.

A moment of impulsive genius toasted by a well-rehearsed celebration. But Gazza's route back into the dentists' chair had detours. 'The main thing was trying to keep him on this planet,' Seaman says.  

Seaman with Paul Gascoigne in 2019 - 23 years after the fun and games they had at Euro 96 

When Gazza got on his nerves, Venables would tell his keeper to take him fishing. 

'We'd go down the road to the local trout lake. Get on a little boat, row out into the middle of the lake.

'It's fun fishing with Gazza... and different!'

Surely a whirring mind like his doesn't have the patience?

'He'd put on a new fly, throw it out two or three times and if he didn't get a fish, he'd bring it in and change it,' Seaman says. 'He spent more time out of the water than in it!'

Every few days they would battle for the next catch. 'It was about getting away from the hotel but still in competition mode,' Seaman adds. 

'I normally won... he's forever tying knots!'  

Before facing Spain, Gazza toppled into the water. 

Another time, a crafty photographer — disguised as a fellow angler — snapped Seaman, Gascoigne and goalkeeper Ian Walker on the water. 

'We chased him off the fishery and Gazza started to let his tyres down,' Seaman recalls.

'Gazza got the guy's phone, he redialled it and it went straight through to Piers Morgan!'

Fortunately the midfielder had Scotland's number, too. The seeds of his stunning goal were sown two minutes earlier, when the Scots won a penalty. Tony Adams felled Durie and Uri got to work.

'It just starts to rock. And I think that's why he went for power,' Seaman says.   

The story goes that hypnotiser Uri Geller willed the ball to quiver before McAllister's spot-kick

'I remember diving to my right thinking, "I haven't got time to put my hand out". So I just stuck my elbow up.' 

He demonstrates down the camera. 'All of a sudden Tony comes running in... he gave me a massive smacker on my cheek. And he hadn't shaved!'

No Englishman needs any excuse to mention what happened next.

'I was still celebrating when bloomin' Gazza scored,' Seaman jokes. 

From there, Euro 96 snowballed into a summer that changed English football. Hard not to wonder, then: how different would life look had McAllister brought Scotland level with little over 10 minutes left?

'That was a definite turning point,' says Seaman, speaking to Sportsmail against a carefully crafted backdrop. 

The 57-year-old is flanked by two framed shirts —both bear the England crest but neither features the patchwork of colours he wore at Euro 96. 

Not long after the save, Gascoigne scored a great goal and celebrated with the 'Dentists Chair'

'The yellow one was all right but I didn't like the red one,' Seaman says. 'Umbro have since said that was their best-selling keeper kit.'

All in spite of some bad early reviews. Seaman remembers a pre-tournament game: 'As our national anthem was being played, I noticed two of the opposition players laughing at my kit like two little schoolboys.'

In fairness, his own verdict was hardly complimentary. 

Seaman still reminisces about Euro 96 and the footballing wave which engrossed the whole country 

'I went into the press box afterwards and somebody said, "What do you think of your new kit?" I went, "It's s*** — and you can print that!"

Seaman watched Raheem Sterling's winner against Croatia from home. 'No, I didn't throw the beer on the ceiling,' he says. 

'But it was close!' That result gave lift-off to England's tournament and vindicated Southgate's bold selection.

'Did I feel he had a strong enough character to be a manager? No,' Seaman says of his former team-mate. 'Now you wouldn't think of anyone better in that job. He speaks really well, with feeling.'

The roots of Southgate's reign are forever entwined with his own spot-kick at Euro 96. Many of his squad weren't around for the semi-final against Germany. But Phil Foden's hair reflects how that summer endures. 'I'm sure Euro 96 will be a positive reminder of what can happen,' Seaman says.

'I think they can go all the way. I just want to be around when England win a major trophy because, boy, am I going to celebrate.'

Surely that would call for another day on the lake with Gazza?

'Yeah I'll probably find him out somewhere. I don't know where he'd be, but he'd probably be celebrating already.' 

Seaman, now an avid supporter, will watch Southgate and England at Euro 2020 from home

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