Ray Wilkins has been described as “one of the finest midfielders of his generation” after the former England captain died in hospital following a cardiac arrest. He was 61.
Wilkins, who won 84 caps for his country from 1976-86, had been treated in St George’s Hospital in Tooting, south-west London since Friday.
Football Association chairman Greg Clarke led the tributes to Wilkins, and said: “I am deeply saddened to hear this news.
“Ray Wilkins was a warm and kind-hearted man, who always had time for others. Through his broadcast work later in life he shared his love and knowledge of the game with millions of football fans.
“Before then of course he was a wonderful player who made 84 appearances for England over 10 years, captaining the team on 10 occasions. His lifelong commitment to the national team also saw him work with our under-21s as part of his successful coaching career.
“He played for a number of top clubs including Chelsea, where he will always be most closely associated, Manchester United and AC Milan. Such a career underlined his ability as one of the finest midfielders of his generation. Ray will be much missed and my thoughts are with his wife Jackie, family and friends.”
England tweeted: “We’re devastated to hear the news that Ray Wilkins has passed away at the age of 61. Wilkins made 84 appearances for the #ThreeLions, and was assistant manager of our Under-21s between 2004 and 2007. We will miss you, Ray”
Chelsea, where Wilkins began his playing career in 1973 and later returned as assistant manager, posted: “Everybody associated with Chelsea Football Club is devastated to learn of the passing of our former player, captain and assistant coach, Ray Wilkins. Rest in peace, Ray, you will be dreadfully missed”
Wilkins won the FA Cup with Manchester United in 1983 before leaving the club to join AC Milan the following year.
The Italian club tweeted ahead of their evening kick-off against rivals Inter: “Goodbye Ray, you will be missed: tonight we’re gonna fight like you taught us! Ciao Ray, ci mancherai: questa sera lotteremo su ogni pallone come avresti fatto tu! RIP, Ray Wilkins 🙏🏻”
Wilkins’ former England team-mates took to Twitter to pay their respects.
Gary Lineker said: “Deeply saddened to hear that Ray Wilkins has passed away. A wonderful footballer and a delightful man. It was a pleasure to have played alongside him with England. No teammate was more helpful and supportive. I’ll be forever grateful. Thoughts are with his family. #RIPRay”
Peter Shilton posted: “I’m devastated to receive this sad news of my former team mate Ray Wilkins a great footballer and well respected by the players rip a very sad day for me only laughing together a few weeks ago”
Trevor Steven tweeted: “Sad beyond belief . RIP Ray. My first captain for the England team. Thoughts are with Jackie and the family. #RayWilkins.”