Gazza knows what it’s like to be bracketed in that category and this is what he thinks England’s young players must do to get there
There will never actually be another Paul Gascoigne, as the man will tell you himself, but the England legend feels the national team still has players with world class potential.
Following the 2-1 loss to Spain in which Thiago Alcantara ran the show, manager Gareth Southgate was asked if the Three Lions will eventually produce someone capable of something similar.
“The only one in my lifetime is Gascoigne,” he said of his former team-mate. “And I’m not sure he was developed, I think he was a consequence of a unique talent . . . capable and willing to have the ball against any opposition.”
“He was right, wasn’t he? I was the best,” Gazza told The Sun.
“There will never be another Bryan Robson.
“There will never be another Pele.
“And there will never be another Paul Gascoigne. I’m the only Paul Gascoigne and I would never put that pressure on a player to be the next one.”
The 51-year-old, though, believes there are supremely talented midfielders emerging, who can become even better if they take more risks and play for the love of playing.
“I played for the shirt on my back. At 18 years of age I was on £25-a-week.
“Nowadays, I see 18-year-olds on £50,000-a-week. And if you’re that age on 50 grand a week, who gives a s**t if you’re playing well or badly?”
Gascoigne played 57 times for England and lit up the 1990 World Cup with his displays under Bobby Robson as a fearless 23-year-old playing against some of the biggest names in the world.
“All these young players, Dele Alli, Jesse Lingard. James Maddison, Phil Foden, every one of them can be a world-class player.
“But it’s up to them. They have to go out and show people. Play with a smile.
“Why would you work every day of the week, train for five days for a match, then come the Saturday and not want the ball? You might as well just go home.
“Gareth is trying to encourage the players to be the next me.
“They won’t be me but they can become themselves. And once they do that, they will become better players.”