Football: Health concern over Gascoigne

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The Independent Online
PAUL GASCOIGNE'S health and behaviour are once more under scrutiny after the admission at the weekend by the Middlesbrough manager, Bryan Robson, that the player "has a problem" with alcohol and stress and reports that he has checked into a specialist clinic for treatment.

Marchwood Priory Hospital, the clinic near Southampton that treated Paul Merson for alcohol and drug-related problems in 1994, said yesterday that Gascoigne was not being treated there; however, a spokeswoman later added that they would be able to issue a statement today.

Gascoigne's business manager, Mel Stein, would not comment on whether his client had checked into a rehabilitation clinic. "It's Paul's business and any problems he has he will sort out in his own way," he said.

The Middlesbrough and England midfielder is said to have gone on a three- day "bender" in Dublin, 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.

Bryan Robson, who paid pounds 3.5m for the 31-year-old 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."

The Middlesbrough chairman, Steve Gibson, said: "There is more to Middlesbrough Football Club than Paul Gascoigne. But he is our player and will continue to be so."

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

"Let Bryan 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.