Football: Gascoigne in special clinic

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MIDDLESBROUGH last night admitted that Paul Gascoigne has spent the weekend in a specialist clinic.

Gascoigne checked in after the latest in a series of drink-related incidents last week, and his manager, Bryan Robson has confirmed the midfielder is suffering from stress and alcohol problems.

Middlesbrough spokesman Dave Allan said: "Everyone at the football club wants to do their best for Gascoigne. He will remain away from the club while the clinic staff consider his symptoms. The club will be guided by their advice over his welfare."

Robson has insisted Middlesbrough will do all they can to help England midfielder Gascoigne, 31, who has had a traumatic year during which he has been divorced, omitted from England's World Cup squad and seen a close friend, David Cheek, die after a night out with the player.

He is said to have gone on a three-day "bender" in Dublin last week while, according to reports, he was seen in tears at Stevenage railway station on Friday evening before being collected by his ex-wife and dropped off at a hotel.

Robson, who paid pounds 3.5m for Gascoigne in the summer, said: "Since Princess Diana died, Gazza has been in the papers every day. He has become the most high-profile person in the country. He is under stress because there has been a lot going on in his life.

"Gazza has got a problem. It's been building up for quite a few years. I've spoken to him about it and we're trying to do something. We're going to try and help the lad."

Gascoigne's business manager, Mel Stein said: "It's Paul's business and any problems he has he will sort out in his own way."

Gascoigne's friend and former team-mate, Chris Waddle, urged people to let Gascoigne sort out his life.

"Let Bryan Robson sort it out and let himself sort it out and, if he has to see people, let them sort it out. But everybody wants to talk about Gazza and say he should be doing this or that. Nobody is perfect and everybody has got problems," he said.