Paul Gascoigne: I've nearly died '19 times'

Former England footballer, who has battled alcohol addiction, made the remarks during an interview on This Morning

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Former England footballer Paul Gascoigne claimed today that he had nearly died “19 times” as a result of battling his addictions.

The 47-year-old football legend appeared on This Morning and said that over the past 18 years – over which Gascoigne has worked out he has probably spent over a year solidly drinking – he had nearly died “19 times”.

Gascoigne appeared healthy and happy as he frankly discussed his demons. “I didn’t ask to be an alcoholic but unfortunately I am,” he said.

“I thought it was the craving for the drink, but it was the obsession,” he commented on his addiction.

“This time around I knew I was in trouble straight away so I tried to put a block on it quite quickly, you know?

“But I was just detoxing in my house and then all of a sudden I just felt upset by a few people regards the latest stint and then I just decided to carry on drinking – which wasn’t the right thing.”

Last year friends of the footballer clubbed together to fund his seventh attempt to beat his demons at a facility in Phoenix, Arizona.

Born in 1967, Gascoigne first played with Newcastle United before moving to Tottenham Hotspur, and then Rangers, Middlesbrough and Everton. As a footballer he is chiefly remembered for winning 57 caps for the England team.

Having retired from football in 2004, his life was dominated by mental and addiction problems which were widely reported in the British press.