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By ESPN Staff

Gascoigne nets contract in China

Paul Gascoigne has signed for struggling Chinese second division side Gansu Tianma, according to reports.

The former England star has agreed a one-year deal worth £400,000 with the B-League's bottom team, club officials have claimed.

Gansu Tianma general manager Zhong Bohong said: 'We picked him because he's a real professional football player. We noticed he has two shortcomings - one is his physical fitness, another is leg strength.

'He has a good sense of the game. He has good skills and experience, especially in the big matches. We think he could play a key role in the team. We'd like him to be the spiritual leader of the team.'

As well as playing for the team, Gascoigne is understood to be taking on an assistant coaching role and acting as a consultant to the club's academy.

The 35-year-old former Newcastle, Spurs, Lazio, Rangers and Everton midfielder flew to China earlier this month in the hope of reviving his fading career.

He failed to impress after training with first division side Liaoning Bodao and was not offered a contract.

When asked why he had agreed to move to the industrial city of Gansu, Gascoigne told Sky Sports News: 'Why not? I've been missing football and this is a great opportunity for me.

'I could have signed for another team but I had the opportunity to coach this season. The manager speaks good English and so do some of the players and the opportunity to be player-coach and it's a chance to enjoy both sides of it.'