Gascoigne thanks England and Manchester United for support

The former Three Lions star has been in a rehabilitation clinic to treat severe alcohol-related illness and thanked well-wishers for their words after his return to the UK
Paul Gascoigne has thanked England and Manchester United for a series of supportive messages played to him as he battled through treatment for alcohol-related illness.

The 45-year-old has struggled with addiction since his retirement and stayed for five weeks at a rehabilitation clinic in Arizona with the financial assistance of the football community following widespread fears for his health.

The former Three Lions playmaker has been invited by Roy Hodgson to join the players for England's next match, while he has also received messages from Sir Alex Ferguson.

Gascoigne told The Sun: "Roy Hodgson, the England manager, told me the entire squad was thinking of me and supporting me.

"He said I was invited to come to the next England game and join the players in the dressing room before and after the match.

"Wayne Rooney was filmed telling me to get better soon.

"Sir Alex [Ferguson] reminded me I’m a fighter. He said he was speaking on behalf of all United players and everyone was rooting for me.

"I was blown away watching people like Sir Alex telling me to stay strong and pull through. It all means so much to me."

The former England international explained how his harrowing experience of detoxification has made him determined never to relapse, and revealed that at one point he believed he would not survive to recover.

"Three doctors didn't think I would make it," he revealed.

"I've come through that - death. I was dead. I thought I was on my way out. I looked like a corpse. I was a total wreck.

"It has got to inspire me to never let this happen again."