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Monday, May 18, 1998 Published at 14:39 GMT 15:39 UK

Sport: Football

Gazza enjoys a night of 'a couple of halves'
image: [ Gascoigne was sober according to DJ friend Chris Evans ]
Gascoigne was sober according to DJ friend Chris Evans

DJ Chris Evans has defended his friend Paul Gascoigne after their Saturday night out led to newspaper editorials demanding Gazza be dropped from the World Cup squad.

Evans used his own Virgin radio breakfast show to demand a "Get Behind Gazza" campaign in the tabloids, before inviting reporters into his studio.

[ image: DJ Chris Evans: invited reporters into his studio]
DJ Chris Evans: invited reporters into his studio
He said Gazza had drunk only a couple of halves of lager before having his picture taken by an autograph hunter while eating a kebab at 1.30am.

Evans, said: "He is one of the most professional sportsman - when he is working - that you could ever come across, ever, and he will train harder than anybody else."

The DJ said he and Gascoigne were out with former England player Chris Waddle and his wife.

Describing Gazza as "totally sober", he said: "It was about 1.30am. That's a reasonable hour for a man of 31 to go home at the weekend on his day off."

Kebabs 'highly recommended for athletes'

Evans denied that the kebab Gascoigne was pictured eating would be bad for his fitness.

Glenn Hoddle speaking on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme: "Gazza's not fit"
"It was chicken, which is very good for athletes, highly recommended for athletes, because it has got no fat in it.

The soccer star appeared on Evans's Channel 4 show TFI Friday last week and was jokingly locked in a box with a sign saying: "Do not open until June 15, Tunisia v England."

The day before he had been out drinking with rock star Rod Stewart and the show's host.

[ image: Glenn Hoddle: warned Gazza may not be fit]
Glenn Hoddle: warned Gazza may not be fit
In an interview with another DJ friend Danny Baker in The Times, Gascoigne said he was aiming to be fit for France '98.

"I wouldn't want to be out at the World Cup finals like some unfit passenger and I'm not going to be," he said.

But England manager Glenn Hoddle has fired a warning shot across the player's bows: "He's not 100% fit ... so I can't say at this time that he's 100% in my plans," he said on Radio 4's Today programme.

Flying high

Gazza also revealed that he is scanning the skies for inspiration.

Gazza's agent Mel Stein on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme: "I don't think he's got any problems"
He said his number one dream is not winning the World Cup, or the Premiership, but seeing a UFO.

"I'll tell you what my dream is," he told Baker. "I mean my absolute number one dream that I will die happy if it happens - I want to see a UFO.

But speaking on Today, Gazza's lawyer Mel Stein admitted the UFO claim could have been "tongue in cheek".

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