Paul Gascoigne, the former England midfielder whose tears became one of the iconic images of the 1990 World Cup, admitted he could not stop crying when he learned his former manager Sir Bobby Robson had finally lost his long fight against cancer on Friday.
Robson, who led England, Newcastle, Ipswich and Barcelona among others in an illustrious career, died at his home in County Durham on Friday morning following his fifth bout of cancer in 17 years. His wife Elsie was by his bedside.
Gascoigne last night told ITV News: "I'm speechless. I'm devastated. Bobby was like my second dad. I was like a son to him. I can't describe how much he meant to me. I've just been crying for three hours, and I've come to see my mum and my dad. It's just unbelievable"
He added: "He gave me a chance to play in the World Cup. I can't really talk that much because I just want to cry, that's all. I love him. And his wife Elsie - I'll always be there for her. I'm sort of numb."
Gascoigne broke into the England team while Robson, a fellow Geordie, was in charge and was one of the stars of the 1990 tournament as England reached the semi-finals.
He was booked in the match against West Germany and could not hold back the tears as he realised he would be suspended for the final, although England never made it as they lost out on penalties.
Robson made a last public appearance at Sunday's charity match between an England XI and a German representative side staged to raise money for the 76-year-old's own cancer charity.
Gascoigne, who was among the former Italia 90 stars on show, added: "He kept himself alive for the game and I thought after the game he might pass away... I'm emotionally drained.
"I want to go up and see his wife Elsie but it's a difficult situation for everyone. I'm going to miss him so badly."
Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.
Do YOU want to write for GiveMeSport? Get started today by signing-up and submitting an article HERE: http://gms.to/writeforgms