- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 23, 2002

THE WASHINGTON TIMES
Paul Gascoigne, perhaps the greatest attacking midfielder of the modern era, will begin a short tryout with D.C. United on Thursday and will be a spectator at Saturday's doubleheader with the Washington Freedom of the Women's United Soccer Association.
Gascoigne, 35, who grew up in Newcastle, England, as did D.C. United coach Ray Hudson, is a fellow "Geordie" and hopefully will offer an immediate impact.
Having ended last season on loan to Burnley of the English First Division, Gascoigne seems to have fallen out of favor with everybody in the Premier League.
MLS will more than welcome a man of "Gazza"'s stature. After all, it brought in legendary German midfielder Lothar Matthaus, who ended up being nothing short of a bust last season (three assists in 16 games) for the New York/New Jersey MetroStars.
Gascoigne's name has been linked to MLS all summer. If he signs, what does United do with Marco Etcheverry? Gascoigne and Etcheverry play the same position. Does United deploy two attacking midfielders? Who sits? Likely no one.
Gascoigne has some baggage. He was kicked off England's 1990 World Cup team for hard drinking and has had a spousal abuse problem.
"When a serious talent like Paul Gascoigne becomes available, you give it serious consideration," Hudson said. "There has also been some concern in Washington over Gazza's admissions a few years back of physically abusing his wife, Sheryl."
Said MLS commisioner Don Garber, "Everybody is entitled to have a right to prove that they're a different person, a new person and have learned from their mistakes."
Gascoigne has been linked to United for some time. The team tried to downplay the tryout of the English superstar with the acquisition of 19-year-old Salvadoran forward Eliseo Quintanilla.
Gascoigne turned down offers in Dubai and Turkey to give MLS a try. If United and MLS sign Gascoigne, United will have to make a roster move.


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