Gazza faces lifelong battle

2009-05-04 07:01

London - Fallen England football star Paul Gascoigne said he would spend the rest of his life trying to deal with his personal problems after playing his first match for more than three years on Sunday.

The 41-year-old former Newcastle and Tottenham midfielder, who also played in Italy for Lazio and for Scottish giants Rangers, was taking part in a charity match to raise money for cash-strapped north-east club Darlington.

Gascoigne captained an "All Stars" side, featuring former Darlington players Marco Gabbiadini and Republic of Ireland international Bernie Slaven, to a 5-3 win against the club's 1999 play-off final team.

And he scored his side's second goal with a penalty.

Gascoigne has undergone treatment for alcoholism, bulimia and obsessive compulsive disorder.

He has also been involved in a highly public marriage break-up with ex-wife Cheryl, chronicled in detail by all sections of the British media.

Last year he was sectioned under Britain's Mental Health Act following an incident in Newcastle.

"I haven't played for about three-and-a-half years now, but I turned out today because it's a good cause," Gascoigne, widely regarded as one of the most talented players of his generation said after the match.

"It's great to be here, and it is good for me as well."

However, he insisted: "My problems are never going to be behind me. Every street corner has a pub on it; there are drugs on every street corner. Booze is everywhere.

"But at the moment I don't want to take the booze and I don't want to be using again. I'm going to be recovering for the rest of my life, but I am sober when I am happy."