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Gascoigne & Maradona

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Something desperately sad about every interview you read with Paul Gascoigne now.



I should never have rejected Ferguson, admits Gascoigne


Paul Gascogine believes that Sir Alex Ferguson would have helped his career.


Paul Gascoigne has said one of the greatest regrets of his playing career was to have turned down Manchester United. On the other side of that coin, United's manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, has long maintained that "not getting Gazza" was the biggest disappointment of his managerial career.


Gascoigne, 41, said he was shown around United's training ground as a young player but when he left Newcastle United in 1988 it was for Tottenham instead. Many suspect that if the former England midfielder had joined United, Ferguson might have steered him down a less destructive path than the one he took. When he later contacted Ferguson about a possible deal several years later while he was a Lazio player, he said United's manager did not seem interested. Gascoigne's overriding feeling was that he had burnt his bridges by already rejecting Ferguson.


"Maybe if I had stayed at Man United I might have still been there," Gascoigne told Sky News in an interview to be broadcast this evening. "I don't know, you just look at these players and the squad of young kids that play, young Rooney that's there, the Neville brothers and Becks, the way he [Ferguson] just brought them on and there are so many.


"I got invited to the academy and it is a magnificent place and you can see the way he treats his players, he treats them with respect but he also makes men out of boys."


When Gascoigne later contacted Ferguson about a possible deal several years later while he was a Lazio player, he said United's manager did not seem interested, the suspicion being that Gascoigne had burnt his bridges by previously rejecting Ferguson.


"It took me six years to get back talking to Sir Alex, I called him from Lazio and asked him would he re-sign us," he continued.


"He was with Eric Cantona and he said he would see what Cantona was going to do but I think everyone knows if you do something to Sir Alex Ferguson the way I did you don't get a second chance."


The current United squad drew praise from Gascoigne, Cristiano Ronaldo the undisputed standout figure in his eyes. "Ronaldo is different, he's a different type of player and he delivers," he said. "Last year he scored more goals and they said he was fabulous. This year they are talking about him and saying he is not doing as well, just because he's not hitting the back of the net. Now I think he is doing a lot better this year than he did last year, even though he doesn't score as many goals. I think Sir Alex has made him a complete player."


Gascoigne also revealed that he had recently been asked to visit Diego Maradona, now Argentina's coach, but would not be taking up the offer due to Maradona's lofty position. Gascoigne himself had a brief and unsuccessful spell managing Kettering, but would welcome a return to management one day, preferably with Newcastle.


"I got a call, they just said Maradona has invited us to stay with him," he added. "This was a couple of months ago but I left it, I said I'd just leave it because he was taking on the job of Argentina coach and he would be busy anyway. But it's still on offer.


"In time I would love to manage Newcastle but you have got to take your badges, you have got to be strong. I am feeling really strong now."



Edited by Snookie
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