LONDON (Reuters) – John Barnes has urged football’s ruling bodies to lend support to lesser-known players troubled by off-field issues after his former England team mate Paul Gascoigne was admitted to a U.S. clinic for treatment for alcoholism this week.
Gascoigne, 45, has lapsed in his battle to control his drink addiction and has travelled to the United States to address what his management company described as "complex issues".
"It’s sad to see what has happened to him and we hope he can get some help," Barnes told BBC Radio 5 Live on Friday.
"Football can always do more to help and what we have to recognise is that for every Paul Gascoigne or Gordon Banks, you still have players who no one has ever heard of who still have problems."
The English Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) boss Gordon Taylor said this week that the PFA had done more for Gascoigne than any other player during his time in charge, leading to criticism from some parts.
"We’ve been criticised for doing as much as we have, because he has not made the improvements that some of our other members have," said Taylor.
Gascoigne’s agent said on Sunday that the former Tottenham Hotspur and Lazio creative midfielder, who was treated twice for mental illness in 2008 and has long battled alcohol addiction since his playing career, risked an early death.
Tottenham have offered their help to Gascoigne, who won the 1991 FA Cup at the London club.
(Writing by Tom Pilcher, Editing by Clare Fallon)
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