Former Manchester United and England midfielder Ray Wilkins dies aged 61

by Leo Nieboer

Former Manchester United midfielder and England captain Ray Wilkins has passed away at the age of 61.

He made 160 league appearances for Man United between 1979 and 1984, and played a key role in their FA Cup triumph over Brighton and Hove Albion in 1983.

The Englishman made his name at Chelsea, where he would later become a coach under Carlo Ancelotti, and also played for Queens Park Rangers, AC Milan, Rangers, Paris Saint Germain and Crystal Palace, alongside captaining England ten times in the 1980s.

It was announced on Wednesday afternoon that Wikins had passed away in St George’s Hospital having been admitted for cardiac arrest last week.

Wilkins’ playing career comes before the generation of this particular writer but his honest, hardworking, measured character was manifold in various coaching jobs, most notably during that title winning campaign for Chelsea in 2010 as well as for the England Under 21s.

He was one of the few Sky Sports pundits to consistently pursue a line of reason and provide genuine insight on a weekly basis. His stints on Sky every Monday morning always provided an impartial yet penetrative reflection on the weekend’s events. Ancelotti, writing in his autobiography, said this about Wilkins.

“Ray is one of those select few, always present, noble in spirit, a real blue-blood, Chelsea flows in his veins … without him we wouldn’t have won a thing.”

Football has lost an excellent mind and an endearing character. Our thoughts are with the family and close friends of Ray at this difficult time.

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