Paul Gascoigne: 'I don’t even like to drink, it just numbs the feeling'

Former football has spoken about battling alcohol addiction before

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The Independent Online

Paul Gascoigne has spoken of his dislike of alcohol and said he drinks to “numb the feeling”.

In an interview with 5Live Sport, the former footballer discussed his struggles with drink as well as the loneliness and personal difficulties he faced after retiring from sport.

Gascoigne, 48, said: “I don’t even like to drink, it just numbs the feeling.”

He described how when he retired from professional football in 2004, following a 20-year career that saw him celebrated as one of England’s top players, he had no idea how to survive.

“I was looked after all of the time. Then you stop playing and you get a bill through the post, and I rang my sister and said ‘How do I do this?’

“It was so embarrassing,” Gascoigne told the radio show.

“I had people call me an entertainer and I like a laugh and joke, but now I have no one to entertain,” he said. “All of a sudden you have nothing. It was horrific.”

The former footballer, who attempted to go into coaching before his mental health deteriorated, spoke about calling Chris Evans – a long-time friend and supporter of Gascoigne – and having a panic attack when he told him he had retired.

His remarks come follow revelations earlier this week that he was “relieved” when he was told he was an alcoholic. “When it was explained and when I listened to other people’s stories, it was like, ‘thank God’, you know?”

Although ‘Gazza’, as he is frequently referred to in the press, has spoken about his alcohol addiction before, a new documentary promises to shed more light on the footballer’s life and experiences.