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Ferguson: I Should Have Signed Gascoigne

Manchester United coach Sir Alex Ferguson has announced his intention to retire in 2010, and has also been looking back at the players he missed out on signing for the club. One was former England striker Alan Shearer, but his biggest regret was failing to land Paul Gascoigne, the most charismatic and skillful English player of his generation, who Monday was sectioned under the UK's Mental Health Act for the second time this year.
"He was the best player of his era, a breath of fresh air because he played with a smile," said Ferguson. "Around 1987, when Newcastle were bobbing above the relegation zone, we played them and my three central midfielders that day were Bryan Robson, Norman Whiteside and Remi Moses. All great footballers, and he [Gascoigne] just tore them apart. Robbo and Whiteside were chasing him up and down the pitch and they couldn't get near him."
Ferguson claimed that Old Trafford would have offered the wayward midfielder -- who struggled with alcohol addiction, mental problems and injury in the years following his acclaimed performances for England at the 1990 World Cup -- a more stable environment under the protection of senior players like Robson, Steve Bruce and Gary Pallister. However, Gascoigne signed for Tottenham instead and spent much of his remaining career either under-achieving or on the sidelines at Lazio, Glasgow Rangers, Middlesbrough, Everton, and then short spells with Burnley, in China, and the English fourth division.

Read the whole story at Telegraph »

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