Former England soccer idol Paul Gascoigne has expressed his gratitude to the celebrity friends who banded together to send him to a rehabilitation clinic in the U.S. to help him tackle his drinking addiction.

British DJ Chris Evans, newsman Piers Morgan, soccer ace Gary Lineker and ex-England cricketer Ronnie Irani all personally chipped in to help pay for Gascoigne to get professional help in America.

The troubled sportsman has battled serious mental health issues and drink and drug problems in the past, but is now receiving treatment in an Arizona facility.

Ailing Gascoigne has reached out to say thanks to his famous friends, who are funding the $9,600-a-week (£6,000-a-week) costs.

Bosses of the Providence Project, where Gascoigne has been treated, tweeted, "Thank you for all your support in helping Paul Gascoigne. He is truly grateful. Big thank you to Ronnie Irani for helping it happen.

"He recently relapsed and unfortunately both his physical and mental health deteriorated very quickly. We agreed that it would be best to enter a rehab program abroad. Paul has also received great support from his friends. When battling any addiction, never stop trying. It might be the toughest fight of your life, but it's worth it. And you're worth it."