England lack passion and character, says Gascoigne

Reuters , Tuesday 9 Jun 2015

Former England soccer player Paul Gascoigne
Former England soccer player Paul Gascoigne arrives at Newcastle magistrates court in Newcastle, northern England December 9, 2010 (Photo: Reuters)

Former England hero Paul Gascoigne has said the current team under Roy Hodgson lack the passion he was famous for, and that he cannot bear to watch much football these days because he misses playing so much.

Gascoigne, 48, appeared 57 times for England and more than 400 times for clubs such as Newcastle United, Tottenham Hotspur, Lazio and Rangers.

He retired in 2004, struggling with alcoholism and personal problems, and is promoting this week a new documentary film "Gascoigne" about his life and career.

"I hardly try and watch games because I still wish I was playing," he said in a BBC radio interview.

"I cannot handle watching players getting lots of money and not putting 100 per cent in. The fans paid for my house, my car, my holidays - but I've seen players score a goal, even for England, and just walk back.

"There are young kids there seeing that and thinking it means nothing to score goals. I don't like that."

He took up that theme in an interview with the Daily Mail, saying of England's widely criticised goalless draw with Ireland on Sunday, "There was the intensity? Where were the characters in this England team? Nowhere.

"I would be in the England dressing-room with Bryan Robson and Terry Butcher and they would be screaming 'nobody comes into my house and takes anything'."

Another England player of that era, Kenny Sansom, was reported on Sunday to be a homeless alcoholic.

Gascoigne said he tried to assist his former team-mate but added: "I can't help him, no-one in the world can help unless he puts his hand up and says he needs help."

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