England players offer help as Paul Gascoigne renews battle against alcoholism

Paul Gascoigne

Distressed by the sight of Paul Gascoigne's renewed battle against alcoholism, England players offered Tuesday to help the troubled star's recovery as he receives treatment in the United States.

Gascoigne's friends organised for him to fly to a treatment center in Phoenix, Arizona after seeing images published of him in ill health at a charity function last week, sobbing and slurring his words while addressing the crowd.

The rare public appearance by the 45-year-old former midfielder – known as "Gazza'' – confirmed fears that he is struggling to overcome the alcohol and mental-health problems that have plagued him since quitting the game in 2005.

Now the England team believes that Gascoigne, whose skillful displays at the 1990 World Cup turned him into an international celebrity, could benefit from assistance from the current generation of players.

"We've made it clear we are able to help if needed,'' captain Steven Gerrard said ahead of England's match against Brazil on Wednesday.

English Football Association officials are conveying Gerrard's offer to Gascoigne's management team.

"I'm very happy the players have made the gesture because I'm sure to Paul having the love of the current England team could be a factor in aiding his recovery,'' England coach Roy Hodgson said.

"Anything I can do, we are there to do, but we need to be told what is required of us ... it's a question of Paul now getting the treatment he needs and kind words won't be enough.

And it is "some quite severe action'' that Hodgson believes the former Tottenham and Lazio player requires.

"Like everyone else who marveled at his talent, it is sad to hear he is not in a good way and having to take these drastic measures to try and get his life back into some sort of order,'' Hodgson. "All I can hope is that he recovers well and the friends he has out there rally together and give him the help he needs.

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