Former England football legend Paul John Gascoigne, popularly referred to as 'Gazza', wants to take part in the grueling Ironman Triathlon event, in a bid to conquer his drink, drug and depression problems.
Playing in the position of midfield, Paul's career included spells at Newcastle United, Tottenham Hotspur, Middlesbrough, Everton, Lazio and Rangers. He was also capped 57 times for England.
AdvertisementAccording to a report in the Daily Star, Gazza has spent the last month in intensive rehab therapy at Tony Adams' Sporting Chance clinic, and his friends say that a change in regime has inspired him to focus on fitness instead of the high life.
One friend of the former midfielder said that Gazza reckoning the grueling Ironman Triathlon event is just the challenge he needs to become a "changed man".
"Paul has been getting himself in great shape while he's been in rehab. Nearly every day, he's been in the gym and it's got him thinking about taking on a challenge," said the friend.
If Gazza goes ahead and enters the contest, which is organized by the World Triathlon Corporation every year, he will have to tackle a 2.4-mile swim, followed by a 112-mile bike ride and then a marathon.
"We're not just talking about a 10k run or something. The Ironman would be the ultimate!" the friend said about the triathlon.
According to sports science experts, former England ace Gazza, 41, is likely to have a strong fitness "base" from his days on the pitch. "Even if Paul hasn't done that much exercise in recent years, his body will remember the demands he once placed on it," one of the experts said. "Because of that muscle memory, he stands a good chance of recovering his fitness very quickly," he added.
Paul has been staying at Champneys Forest Mere health farm in Hampshire during his spell at the clinic.