|Playing career||1985 - 1988|
|Born||Gateshead, 27th May 1967|
PAUL Gascoigne went from the chubby schoollboy who joined United in 1980 to the man who captured the hearts of a nation while playing for England.
Gazza signed schoolboy forms with his boyhood heroes in 1980, and made his first team debut under Jack Charlton as a substitute against QPR in April 1985 after skippering the youth side to FA Youth Cup glory a few months earlier.
His skills and all-action performances quickly saw him nail down a regular place in the first team, and he eventually became the new hero of the Gallowgate after Chris Waddle and Peter Beardsley left for pastures new.
The Geordie's fiery temperament often landed him in hot water with the referees, but that didn't stop United legend Jackie Milburn describe him as "the best in the world".
In 1988, with United struggling on and off the field, a British record transfer fee from Spurs was too good to turn down and Gazza was off to White Hart Lane.
he then went on to show the rest of the country what United's fans hyad known for years, and before long he was a regular in the England team.
Bobby Robson was impressed enough to take him to the World Cup in 1990 in Italy, and it was there that Gazza-mania was born.
Paul lit up the tournament with some dazzling displays as England reached the semi-finals, but it was in that game with West Germany that Gazza became a legend. A foul on Thomas Berthold earned him a booking that would rule him out of the final - the tears began falling and the rest is history.
The whole nation went Gazza mad on his return to England, and grounds up and down the country were packed to the rafters wherever Tottenham played.
But an injury picked up in the 1991 FA Cup Final at Wembley proved to be a turning point in Gascoigne's career, and despite flashes of genius Paul never really got back to the level he wasa at prior to the injury.
Nevertheless his popularity never waned, and he was hero-worshipped in Italy after signing for Lazio, then also at Galsgow Rangers where he helped the Ibbros side dominate the Scottish game between 1995-98.
Spells at Middlesbrough, Everton and Burnley followed, and after an unsuccessful timein China with Gansu Tianma.