Last updated : 13 June 2004 By Editor

"I have suffered from asthma since I was a boy and even now I have to have an inhaler so I can cope when it comes on," says Saha.

"I haven't really liked to mention it or speak about it but now I think it's right to tell people. Then they can see it's possible to be a professional sportsman with this.

"They see we can run and compete at a high level if you handle things in the right way.

"Just look at Paul Scholes and what he has achieved despite dealing with asthma for so long.

"It's an example to people that you can overcome it and it's also an inspiration for me when I see what Scholes has done in the game.

"If I do the right thing with my medicine then I can be OK, but you have to make sure you prepare properly, otherwise you can be in trouble.

"Sometimes asthma can be triggered by stress but most of the time I manage to handle things OK. It is more difficult when the conditions are hot or you are at altitude and there is not much air.

"From speaking to Paul, I think he had some small problems in Japan because of the atmosphere. You just have to be careful." The prospect of facing England holds no fears for Saha, who grew up with Thierry Henry.

"I have a lot more confidence when I play alongside big players like Zinedine Zidane or Thierry for France, or Ruud van Nistelrooy and Scholes for United.

"It gives me a great feeling of self-belief, and if I manage to play against England I know that I can perform to the standards the team have set.

"We know it won't be easy though, because England have some great players too. Steven Gerrard is the heart of the team and I know all about Paul Scholes.

"I was really surprised to discover that he has not scored an international goal in three years. That is not a disaster because he makes many assists, although it would be the worst time possible if he was to break that bad run and score against us."