Paul Gascoigne was speaking to ITV’s Daybreak
Paul Gascoigne was speaking to ITV’s Daybreak

Paul Gascoigne has spoken publicly for the first time about his near-death experience following an alcohol relapse, adding he will go to "any lengths" to remain sober.

The former Tottenham Hotspur and Newcastle United footballer told ITV's Daybreak that he was now "feeling good" following his stint in an Arizona rehab adding: "I'm quite excited what the future holds - I had a bad time."

The 45-year-old, who won 57 caps for England, told of how doctors feared he was going to die after slipping into a drink-induced coma following a well-publicised relapse.

He said: "I went to the treatment centre, and they tried to detox us, and they couldn't, so they rushed us to hospital, and that's where it got quite serious.

"I just remember the guy saying to the doctor in the treatment centre, 'I don't think this guy's going to make it'.

"I put my head up a little bit, and I had tubes all over my arms and body, and getting injected, and I said, please don't let me die, I need to water the plants. The plants were more important than me. The plants passed away and I survived."

When asked by Daybreak presenter Lorraine Kelly if it was too early for him to be making public appearances after being so close to death following his detox, Gascoigne replied: "It's best for me to get back into reality straight away than just sitting in the house doing nothing."

Concerns were raised about Gascoigne's health after a video of the 45-year-old at a charity event shaking, slurring his words and sobbing emerged.

After seeing the video, Gascoigne said: "Well for me there I honestly thought I look good - that's alcoholism for you. I didn't have a drink for a few hours, that's why the shakes come on, but I think if I had a few drinks before I came onstage I think I would have been alright. That's when I was in the thick of it.

"When people say how bad you were, you sometimes don't believe it so it was good for me to see that and see how bad I actually was."

The former footballer also thanked the support he got from his friends, including radio presenter Chris Evans, former Tottenham Hotspur team-mate Gary Mabbutt and Manchester United coach Sir Alex Ferguson, who helped contribute money to fund his £7,500-a-week stay in rehab.

When asked about how he feels with comparisons to former Manchester United player George Best, who died aged 59 following years of alcohol abuse, Gascoigne said: "God bless him, he's passed away, and I was friends with George, but I just felt like George didn't want to get well. I'm trying so hard to do it."

He added: "I didn't ask to be an alcoholic, but I must admit I worked on it.

"I went to any lengths to get my drink, I'll go even further to stay sober."