Paul Gascoigne’s appointment as manager of Garforth Town is not yet a done deal.
Reports yesterday claimed the former England midfielder had already been confirmed as the boss of the Evo Stik First Division North League club but talks remain ongoing between Gascoigne and Garforth owner Simon Clifford.
The 43-year-old told the News of the World: “I feel strong right now. For me personally, it’s a big challenge. It’s whether the players want to join me in that challenge.
“I never knew when I’d get back into football. I want to take the club forward and I want the players to develop. I will give commitment to the club.
“Going to a club like this does not bother me one bit. I love this type of football. It is not flash and the players won’t be flash.
“I will get the same publicity at Garforth as if I was at a Premier League club and I don’t want the players to get carried away with it.
“I am excited. I can’t wait to get in and get started – but of course I will be nervous.”
Garforth are hoping to announce Gascoigne as manager later this week, while his first match in charge could come at home to Warrington Town next Tuesday.
Clifford, who bought Garforth in 2003, has taken the club into the headlines before when he recruited former Brazil internationals Socrates and Careca, who each played in one match.
But he insists this venture is about helping Gascoigne, who has struggled increasingly with alcoholism and mental health problems since the end of his playing career.
Steve Nichol, who took over as Garforth manager this summer after Clifford stepped down to focus on other aspects of his business, said: “I know Simon wants to help Gazza, to give him a fresh start.”
Nichol confirmed he has known about the possibility of Gascoigne’s appointment for a couple of weeks but said he has not spoken to Clifford for a few days.
The former Newcastle, Tottenham, Lazio and Rangers midfielder’s only previous experience of management came in a 39-day spell at Kettering in 2005.
Owner Imraan Ladak sacked Gascoigne, claiming he was drinking too much, something the former England star denies.