Paul Gascoigne, former Tottenham and England star, has prompted new fears over his health after he missed a TV appearance on Tuesday.
Gascoigne was meant to appear on ITV show This Morning alongside Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby, but Schofield had to announce, “no one can find him,” according to Ashleigh Rainbird of the Daily Mirror.
Rainbird quoted an ITV source, who said:
He couldn’t be located in the morning, or there still would have been time to get him on air. It’s fair to say he went AWOL, which is a concern, given his condition.
There were some fears he might have gone on another bender and not made it back home in time for the show.
The appearance was scheduled for the morning that a documentary, following Gascoigne as he attempts to deal with his battle against addiction, was set to be aired.
Being Paul Gascoigne charted the loved midfielder’s struggles, providing a hard-hitting insight into the man who once lit up football pitches with his phenomenal dribbling abilities:
Watching "Being Paul Gascoigne" on ITV. Pretty emotional viewing seeing such an English legend struggling like this! #gazza— Matt Prior (@MattPrior13) September 24, 2013
Gascoigne confessed addictions to sweets, tattoos and cosmetic surgery as he attempted to steer clear of alcohol, but at one stage did reveal on the documentary he felt he may be better off dead.
In fairness to the former Lazio star, he has made several attempts to kick his habit, even checking into a U.S. clinic in order to finally rid booze from his life.
However, Tuesday’s no-show sparked fears the pressure of the day’s events had taken a toll on Gascoigne, although Rainbird quoted a source who claimed on behalf of the 46-year-old that the appearance “was never formally signed off.”
At his best, Gascoigne was one of the best players of his generation. Voted PFA Young Player of the Year in 1988, he soon became an England star.
At the Italia ’90 World Cup, Gascoigne earned a place in the hearts of a nation when he shed tears during England’s semifinal against West Germany. A booking had ruled him out of the final, although England eventually missed out anyway after a penalty-shootout loss.
Gascoigne later helped Tottenham win the 1991 FA Cup, although even that glorious moment was tainted for the enigmatic midfielder, who paid the price for his own reckless tackle when he had to be taken to hospital.
It was the moment to encapsulate Gascoigne’s demons, which have since become vastly more serious as football has been replaced by addictions of a different kind.