Football: Banks attack on Gascoigne

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Tony Banks, the outspoken new Minister for Sport, yesterday launched a scathing attack on Paul Gascoigne, saying he was an "unreliable, wasted talent".

Banks, speaking on Channel Five television, said Gascoigne was "not much of a role model" following allegations of wife-beating and that "God had taken his brain out".

"He's a great player, but in the end unreliable, likely to do the crazy sort of thing that throws the whole team," Banks added.

The comments come two days after Banks proposed that overseas footballers based in England should be allowed to play for the national team. Yesterday he backtracked on that, saying: "I let people kick the idea around. They kicked it around, and they kicked it into touch. I think I'll leave it there."