Bryan Robson recounts Gascoigne tale
Former Manchester United captain Bryan Robson discussed two of his prized possessions from his playing days – framed England shirts – in a chat with Mark Sullivan during the current lockdown.
The Reds legend showed off jerseys from his international debut against the Republic of Ireland in 1980 and the World Cup meeting with the Netherlands a decade later.
The game against Holland proved to be his last in Italia 90 as he suffered an Achilles problem that ruled him out of the rest of the tournament, while Bobby Robson's team went on to reach the semi-finals.
Robbo again set the record straight regarding a story that appeared in Paul Gascoigne's autobiography about his injury and subsequent spell on the sidelines.
"It was an unbelievable disappointment in 1990 for me," he told us. "It was great to be part of the squad and to be captain and I really felt we had a great chance. We had some great players, with the emergence of Gazza coming through, and it was a great opportunity for us.
“The Holland game was unfortunately when I snapped my Achilles tendon and that was the end of my World Cup.
“I couldn't stay with the boys as the gaffer [Alex Ferguson] was on the phone to get me straight back to have the operation. We knew there was a long recovery period before I played again. The lads did brilliantly to get to the semis and were so close to winning it, with a couple of chances we had. As ever, West Germany were different class when it comes to penalty shoot-outs."
Gascoigne claimed Robson's tournament was ended due to a toe injury, which he sustained in an incident at the team hotel. However, this was not the case, as Bryan has previously clarified in his own book, Robbo: My Autobiography.
"Gazza always said I broke my toe but I didn't," he reiterated. "Otherwise, I'd never have played in the first game. We were all having a bit of daft banter around the hotel and I tipped Gazza off his bed. But the bed slipped and landed on my toe and took a bit of the toenail off. So it was very sore for the first game and I needed a pain-killing injection in my toe to get through the game. That was what happened.
“Honestly, Gazza was nuts. Sometimes, he could always be well over the top but, at certain times, when you're away for six or eight weeks preparing for a World Cup, you need someone like Gazza around, who is doing daft things that make you amused.
“He was in great form for that World Cup, just because it was his first major competition, so he was full of it – tipping people off beds and everything, playing tennis when he shouldn't have been and playing golf when he shouldn't have been. Bobby had a nightmare with him!"
The other shirt he showed off was the no.6 from his England debut at Wembley against the Republic of Ireland.
"It's got six on the back because Kevin Keegan was captain at the time, in 1980, and he always liked to wear no.7," explained Robbo. "So Kevin had that and I was just delighted to make my debut for England. It was in a European Championship qualifier. Kevin scored two goals and we won the game 2-0 in front of a full Wembley, around 95,000-100,000 at that time.
“It was a great moment for me, to be making my debut for my country."
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