Wed, Jan 22, 2003 - Page 20 News List

Gascoigne tells Chinese media the kettle's black

HE'S A LAD The former England player said -- apparently without irony -- that Chinese players needed to use their brains more if they were to improve their soccer skills


Former England international Paul Gascoigne, who is in China to find a club willing to take him but who so far has impressed noone, says Chinese players need to start using their brains more.

But the wayward star, known as "Gazza," said this was likely to take some time.

He said that after several days training with first-division club Liaoning Bodao it was apparent Chinese footballers still have a lot to learn.

"Chinese players are good, their speed is fast and their skill is ok," he said, the Xinhua news agency reported on its Web site.

"But the most important part in playing football is using your brain and in this part it is apparent that Chinese players need to improve and this aspect will need a long time," he added, pointing a finger to his head.

Gascoigne was once called "daft as a brush" by England manager Bobby Robson, who had to deal with the player's antics.

Gascoigne remains on southern tropical Hainan Island after practising with Liaoning, a club official said Tuesday, adding that no decision had been made on whether to sign him.

Reports at the weekend said the former Lazio and Newcastle star had proved a flop.

"We found in the trial that Gascoigne's physical fitness cannot meet our demand," Xinhua quoted an unidentified Liaoning coach as saying.

Xinhua also quoted a Liaoning coach saying Gazza was "not aggressive enough."

"And his passing is awful. We cannot buy a player just because he was very famous."

The 1990 World Cup hero's lifestyle also may have also taken its toll amid allegations that he had been drinking heavily.

"We could smell him drink in the morning," one Bodao player told reporters.

Gascoigne, who has been without a club since being released by first division Burnley at the end of last season, had contacted other Chinese clubs for trials, Xinhua said.

Gazza's file of shame

■Crashed Middlesbrough's team bus at the club's training ground, causing UK Pound 10,000 (US$16,000) worth of damage.

■ Reportedly set fire to Britain's ITV's World Cup 2002 studio while having a sneaky fag in between transmissions.

■ Asked his Dad to bring him a hamper of his favorite food when he visited his son in Italy. Gascoigne Snr. brought a large basket full of pasta.

■ When told by a journalist that he worked for a Web site, Gazza replied: ``Web site? What's that then?''

■ One hour after playing for England, met showbiz pals Danny Baker and Chris Evans in a Hampstead pub while still wearing his full kit -- boots included.

■ When asked his nationality before an operation, told the nurse, ``Church Of England.''

■ Greeted reporters in Rome by standing up, asking for silence, then farting at ear-splitting volume.

■ Asked by a Norwegian camera crew if he had a message for England's upcoming opponents, Gazza responded with, ``Yes. F*** off Norway.'' Then ran off laughing.

■ Sent a rose to the Wimbledon dressing room for Vinnie Jones after the infamous ball-squeezing incident. Got a toilet brush in return.

■ As ``perk'' of boot-cleaning duties during his apprenticeship, took Kevin Keegan's boots home to show his mates. And promptly left them on the Newcastle underground.

■ Spent UK Pound 10,000 on a state-of-the art robot then programmed it to march into friend Jimmy ``Five Bellies''' bedroom and announce, ``Make a cup of tea, fat man.''

■ Whilst dining in the prestigious Bedford Arms Hotel in Woburn, decided to place his member on the shoulder of a diner at the next table. Thinking someone had tapped him on the shoulder, the gentleman turned his head only to have Gazza's helmet prod him in the cheek.


One of them, Chongqing Lifan, announced last Friday that it would not even take him for a trial, citing his apparently poor physical fitness.

But Xinhua reported that several other first division clubs in China were prepared to take a look at the 35-year-old.

He arrived in China last week, but has been scouring the world looking for another club to take him on.

He flew to Washington to try to persuade DC United to take him, but the Major League Soccer club didn't.

Since then, he has been linked with modest clubs such as Gillingham, Exeter City, Colchester and non-league Carshalton, Scottish teams Dundee and Partick Thistle and even a Maltese club, Marsax Lokk.

Last week, Gascoigne was linked to struggling Hamburg club St Pauli. The second division outfit was relegated last season and said they would be interested in the 35-year-old midfielder.

The German paper Bild said Gascoigne would be attracted to the notorious red-light Reeperbahn district neighboring St. Pauli and he would fit "like a cork to the bottle."

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