Football: Gascoigne's televised cry from the heart

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The Independent Online
PAUL GASCOIGNE has admitted that he uses humour as a mask, but says he still finds life difficult because of the intense media scrutiny to which he is subjected.

The Lazio and England midfielder, who is recovering from a broken leg he suffered at the end of last season, told the Channel Four programme, Gazza's Italian Diaries, 'I'm a young lad and I shouldn't have to take this pressure. I get it more than anyone else in England and sometimes I can't cope.'

In the programme, to be broadcast next Monday, Gasgoigne says: 'I try to hide it by being funny but at the end of the day I'm a serious person.'

Gascoigne was doing well in his recovery, according to his manager, Len Lazarus. 'He's slim and streamlined and he hopes to be back to full fitness by January or February,' Lazarus said.