Football: Gascoigne regrets daft past

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The Independent Online
Paul GascoignE believes the mistakes he has made on and off the pitch have cost him the chance to captain England. The 30-year-old Rangers midfield star is determined to change his public image and to "earn the respect of everybody" so that events in his private life do not cost him the chance to go into football management.

"I want to enjoy my next few years and then have a break from it until I want to come back and hopefully be a coach or in management," said Gascoigne. "I wouldn't mind a crack at that. It would be fun but I have done a few daft things in my career so I have to earn the respect of everybody - and I will do that. There will be no problem with that.

"Sometimes I look back and I could kick myself for things I did on the pitch and some of the things I did off the pitch. I think maybe that is the reason I have not been given the captaincy of Rangers," he added.

Gascoigne also revealed that he turned down the opportunity to return to English football because the thought of leaving Rangers "left a lump in my throat".

With the prospect of playing in the World Cup in France next year, he is determined that keeping a lower profile in his private life will help him concentrate on lengthening his playing career. "It's hard because sometimes I feel that my life is not my life," he said. "I am working on putting everything right. I just want to get better and better and better as a player. I want to prove to people that I can be one of the best."

Gascoigne also believes that the future is bright for the national team under Glenn Hoddle, largely thanks to club managers like Alex Ferguson at Manchester United.

Ferguson's reign at Old Trafford has produced young stars such as David Beckham, Paul Scholes, Gary and Phil Neville and Nicky Butt who have helped restore England's pride on the international scene. And Gascoigne thinks that the new crop of stars can all learn from him: "I would like to think that they look up to me and see that I have been around a bit and see that I am still up there with my football. When I am in training at the England camp, they can see that I am giving 110 per cent and always trying to prove that I'm not a bad player.

"All the kids who are coming up just have a look at me when I was just starting and some of the daft things I did. Just be very, very careful that it doesn't turn round on you. It will be hard to get out of."