Sports Letters: Gascoigne cannot win

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The Independent Online
From: Mr J Lewis

Sir: I would like to take issue with Ian Ridley's assessment of Paul Gascoigne's display for England in the recent game against Georgia in Tbilisi (Gascoigne's Light Fading Fast, 10 November).

Leaving aside the issue of whether he should have been playing at all, Gascoigne played his part in an impressive team performance. As Mr Ridley points out, he had a hand in both goals and rarely lost possession. To suggest the result was achieved "despite Gascoigne and not because of him" is harsh in the extreme and surely panders to the kind of black and white journalism so well practised by the tabloids. Either he's brilliant or he's rubbish.

The fact that he is no longer the player he was is irrelevant. He is still a fine player and Glenn Hoddle had every reason to be happy with him.

In a sense Gascoigne cannot win. If he tries to be the player he once was, he is criticised, as he was after the Poland match, for being over- ambitious. But if he plays a more sober game, he is attacked for not being the player he once was. Perhaps it is no wonder his private life is in such a state of confusion.

Yours earnestly

JEFFREY LEWIS

Handsworth, Birmingham

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