Premier League

Agent fears for Gascoigne

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Sun, 03 Feb 2013 10:18:00

Roy Hodgson will hand Ashley Cole his 100th England cap against Brazil, but warns he is no longer a guaranteed starter.

Chelsea full-back Cole will reach a century of appearances for his country when the Three Lions face Brazil in a glamour friendly at Wembley on Wednesday.

The 31-year-old is still widely recognised as world football's standout performer in his chosen position and has been a virtual ever-present for England since making his debut in 2001.

Hodgson, though concedes that Cole faces stiff competition from Everton's Leighton Baines heading forward and admits he will have tough decisions to make in the near future.

He said: "If Ashley is fit he will play on Wednesday and get his 100th cap.

"But there will come a time when both are fit for an important match and I will have to disappoint one of them.

"They will just have to fight it out and I'm sure the competition between them will be fierce.

"Then I'll have to make a decision.

Capable



Hodgson added: "Leighton proved himself to me during the Euros and since then when he's played a couple of games in Ashley's absence.

"So he doesn't have to do anything. He knows that he's capable of playing for England at left-back.

"Just as Ashley knows he's capable and he's proved it with 100 caps."

Gascoigne, 45, who has spoken about alcoholism problems in the past and was sectioned five years ago under the Mental Health Act, appeared to be unwell and trembling at a charity appearance in Northampton on Thursday.

His agent Terry Baker told BBC Radio Five: "He won't thank me for saying but he needs to immediately get help.

"Whatever's happened to him in the five or six weeks since I saw him before Christmas, he is not as well as he has been.

"He's been absolutely fine, he really has, and now he isn't. But I think he knows that.

"His life is always in danger because he is an alcoholic. Maybe no-one can save him - I don't know. I really don't know."

Former Manchester United goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel called on the Professional Footballers' Association to step up and help the ex-Newcastle, Tottenham, Lazio and Rangers playmaker.

Referring to The Sun's video of Gascoigne's charity appearance, Schmeichel wrote on Twitter: "This is not fun watching. Gazza needs help. Come on PFA & (PFA chief executive) Gordon Taylor, time to step up.

"We are all responsible for how we live our lives. But that doesn't mean we can't step in and help, and I think the footballing community, as the family we at times claim to be, must do more to help Gazza and others like him.

"Instead of getting great deals on cars & other luxury goods for members, PFA should commit more time and funds to help the like of Gazza.

"So what if he's had help before and has messed it up, does that mean that we just give up on him?

"What really gets me here is people. Everyone close to him was looked after by him. Now he's abandoned by the lot and in many ways they helped him becoming what he is today. He needs help, they should be there to provide that for him, regardless."

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