Paul Gascoigne was arrested at Durham station in north-east England on August 20. Photo: Lee Smith/Action Images via Reuters

LONDON –  Former England footballer Paul Gascoigne has been charged with sexually assaulting a woman on board a train, British Transport Police said on Monday.

The ex-Tottenham and Lazio player was charged with “one count of sexual assault by touching”, said a spokeswoman for the force.

The 51-year-old, who has struggled with alcoholism since he retired from top-flight football, was arrested at Durham station in northeast England on August 20. 

He is due to appear in a magistrates' court on December 11.

Gascoigne – known as “Gazza” – made his name with Newcastle before going on to play for Tottenham, Italian giants Lazio and several other teams including Glasgow Rangers.

The midfielder, widely regarded as one of the most talented players of his generation, was also a key member of the England side that reached the semi-finals of the 1990 World Cup in Italy. He won 57 caps in total.

Gascoigne was one of the first big-name footballers to arrive in China when he made the shock decision to be a player-coach of second division Gansu Tianma in 2003, but he lasted just a handful of games.

In 2016, he was fined and ordered to pay compensation by a court after making a racist comment to a black security guard at his “An Evening with Gazza” show.

In an interview published on Tottenham's website last year he said: "Sometimes when I look back and people say to me ‘do you regret anything in your career?’

“Perhaps I left Spurs too early. I loved it there. The players, the staff, everyone was class and the team spirit was phenomenal, absolute class. We had a great team.

“People talk about me being a bit of a joker, messing about, but we had about 15 in that squad.”

Last month Gascoigne's nomination for a place in the Scottish Football Hall of Fame was withdrawn, with officials expressing concerns over his state of his health.

AFP