Gary Speed, one of the Barclays Premier League's most outstanding former players, has been awarded an MBE for his services to the game.

Born in Mancot, Wales, on September 8, 1969, Speed went Hawarden High School in North Wales until he was 16. He made his league debut for Leeds on May 6, 1989 in a goalless draw with Oldham at Elland Road in the old Second Division.

Speed went on to play 840 matches and score 134 goals during a career that spanned five clubs - Leeds (312 games, 57 goals), Everton (65, 17), Newcastle (284, 40), Bolton (139, 14) and Sheffield United (40, six).

Speed also excelled at international level where he became Wales' most-capped outfield player (85 games, seven goals).

Only goalkeeper Neville Southall has more caps (92) and the midfielder was recommended for the manager's job by Mark Hughes when he stepped down in 2004.

"I played all the way through the representative sides, but was not picked for Wales Schoolboys at under-15 level," Speed said recently.

"I thought at the time that my career was over, but, from that Wales Under-15 team, only Chris Coleman made it through to full honours. It is something I always impress on youngsters today.

"The best advice I was given was to try your best, and remember you never stop learning. I was still learning about the game when I retired from playing."

Speed also held the record of most Premier League appearances with 535 until February 2009 when Portsmouth goalkeeper David James overtook him.

Speed finished his playing career with Sheffield United at the end of last season in his 41st year and is now on their coaching staff.

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Gary Speed
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