“Wayne is the joker in our pack, perhaps the crazy joker!” says Fabio Capello of the bould Rooney.

However, Teddy Sheringham went against the grain on ITV after England’s recent 2-1 win against Ukraine at Wembley.

Poring over footage of Rooney’s latest rush of blood – a reckless tackle that got the ball but was a millimetre from another red card – Sheringham voiced fears that the striker could do a Gazza and crock himself good and proper if he’s not careful. He likened the challenge to the kamikaze kick that did for Gascoigne’s knee in the 1991 FA Cup final, and “he was never the same again.”

Andy Townsend, who apparently doesn’t watch matches involving the country he once captained (then again Faroe Islands Godsend Brian Kerr was summarising from Wembley for Setanta; money talks) disagreed, trotting out the familiar mantra that you’ll never remove the element of aggression from Rooney’s game; ‘it’s part of what makes him the player he is’, blah, blah.

Meanwhile, England’s original ‘crazy joker’ is back on the media treadmill, thanks to a new agent and a patent need to start making money after years of blowing it and near-killing himself.

On Sunday night’s MotD2 Gazza said he’d been sober for the past four months, having been through Tony Adams’ Sporting Chance clinic, which has worked on Paul McGrath in the past with mixed results.

Though he looked clear-eyed and sounded unusually coherent, the odds on Gascoigne staying on the straight and narrow would seem as slim as his disconcertingly frail, orange frame.

Presenter Adrian Chiles and analyst Lee Dixon attempted to lighten the mood with a few jokes about Gascoigne’s amazing stomach muscles.

Poignantly he admitted he still thinks he can play football, and is training like a demon. TV work and the like are all well and good if he needs some football focus in his life, but it didn’t stop George Best drinking himself to death.