Football

Ugo Ehiogu.

Paul Merson breaks down as he pays tribute to Ugo Ehiogu

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Former and current professionals have paid tribute to Ugo Ehiogu after the former England and Aston Villa sadly died after suffering a cardiac arrest on Thursday.

Ehiogu was just 44 when he died in hospital in the early hours of Friday morning.

Harry Kane hailed Ehiogu, who was the Under-23 coach at Tottenham Hotspur, as a “fantastic man and coach”.

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“Very sad day today,” Kane wrote on Twitter. “Ugo was a fantastic man and coach! Gone way too soon! Thoughts are with his friends and family now!”

Rio Ferdinand said: “Can't believe the news that Ugo Ehiogu has passed away. Calm & warming vibe when in his company. My heart goes out to his family!”

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Meanwhile, former Tottenham striker Gary Lineker said: “Dreadful news that Ugo Ehiogu has passed away. So young, so sad, such a lovely guy.”

So sad. The former centre-back was capped four times by England and made over 200 appearances for Aston Villa in a career that also say him play for Middlesbrough, Rangers and Sheffield United.

A VILLA V LEEDS UTD

Southgate: He was a colossus on the pitch

Gareth Southgate, Ehiogu’s former Aston Villa teammate and England’s current manager, spoke of the former defender’s character in a lovely tribute.

“He was a gentleman and he is one of those characters that people would find it difficult to have anything bad to say about him,” Southgate said, via BBC Sport.

"I probably played more games with Ugo than anybody else in my career and while in many ways he was a gentle giant away from football, he was a colossus on the pitch. It felt like a true partnership with Ugo because we were prepared to put our bodies on the line for each other.”

Alan Smith of Leeds United and Gareth Southgate and Ugo Ehiogu of Middlesbrough

Paul Merson's lovely tribute

For an idea of just how admired Ehiogu was, you need to see Paul Merson’s tribute.

Merson and Ehiogu played together at Aston Villa between 1998 and 2000, playing together in the club’s FA Cup final defeat to Chelsea 17 years ago.

And Merson broke down on live television as remembered his old teammate, who recently teased him about Tottenham’s prosperous academy.

Video: Merson breaks down as he remember Ehiogu

“I’m still devastated. He was such a top bloke, it's unbelievable. He was a man mountain,” Merson told Sky Sports.

“You know what... Billy Joel sings that song, 'Only The Good Die Young.' And that is him. He was a top player and a good friend as well.

“I talked to him recently, he was always winding me up, saying Tottenham have some good players coming through! [My thoughts] go out to his family, sorry.”

Football has lost a good one.

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Topics:
Gareth Southgate
England Football
Paul Merson
Ugo Ehiogu
Aston Villa
Football
Premier League
Arsenal
Middlesbrough

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