sport

England stars offer Gazza help

Steven Gerrard has led a player deputation to the FA to ensure Paul Gascoigne is offered every assistance in his battle against alcoholism.

Gascoigne has checked into a clinic in the United States after his agent revealed on radio over the weekend that the former England star had started drinking again.

As the most prominent player of his generation, Gascoigne was a hero to many of the current England squad, including Gerrard.

And the Three Lions skipper is willing to help in any way possible if it means Gascoigne can overcome his personal demons.

"We have a committee in the squad, and went to see (Director of team operations) Michelle (Farrer)," said Gerrard.

"If the management team think the players can help in any way, we are available and prepared to do so."

That Gascoigne has found help so quickly has to be seen as a positive sign.

The 45-year-old has tended to live on the edge throughout his adult life.

However, there were real signs of more stability in his life until the latest downturn, when he attended a function for a personal appearance apparently worse for wear.

It has often been suggested Gascoigne is the victim of his own publicity.

Roy Hodgson is not so sure, although the England coach has nothing but good wishes for Gascoigne in the battle that lies ahead.

"Many of the players looked up to Paul as the star player of the day," said Hodgson.

"I can only back that up.

"Perhaps his problems today are nothing to do with his playing career. I don't know.

"I just hope he realises he's so well loved and respected and that a lot of us are very sad to see him fighting to get his life back to where he wants it to be."