Football: Hoddle impressed by Gascoigne

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The Independent Online
Glenn Hoddle, the England coach, is delighted with Paul Gascoigne's transformation into a picture of fitness. And now Hoddle hopes that his sleek figure is matched by a mental sharpness for the World Cup challenge in Poland in 10 days.

"He's looking as lean and fit as anything," said Hoddle, who had been critical of the Rangers player's lifestyle and approach as he battled back from injury.

With Paul Merson, Matthew Le Tissier and Steve McManaman missing the match in Katowice, Gascoigne could be the hero again. He is set for his England comeback in the warm-up game against South Africa at Old Trafford on Saturday, six months after his last cap in Georgia.

He has a new look all-round. It is indicative, that he has finally listened to Hoddle's ultimatum that he had to change or pay the price. "His attitude is very good at the moment," Hoddle said.

"He's obviously given himself the best opportunity by getting himself back fit to stamp his authority on games when he plays. He hasn't exactly lost weight, he's now turned it into muscle, which is the best thing to do. He's done a lot of gym work." Gascoigne has also played seven testimonials in 15 days to get match sharp.