On this day: Remembering Chelsea, Manchester United and England star Ray Wilkins

Chelsea, Manchester United and AC Milan midfielder Ray Wilkins died on April 4 two years ago.

Here, the PA news agency looks at the former midfielder’s legacy.

Why was he so well respected?

After Wilkins died, an anonymous soldier credited him for saving his life when the former midfielder took time to sit with him on the street, give him £20 and buy him a coffee.

He told talkSPORT: “That night I took that £20 and I got some shelter and I had a hot meal. During that time, when I was in the shelter, I met a guy who was helping ex-soldiers and put me in touch with decent people who would help me.”

In 2018, AC Milan fans unfurled a banner which read: Ciao Ray: Leggenda Rossonera – Goodbye Ray: Legend of the Red and Blacks.

Who paid tribute?

England v Nigeria – International Friendly – Wembley Stadium
A tribute to Ray Wilkins ahead of England’s game with Nigeria in 2018. (Steven Paston/PA)

Wilkins’ sudden death shocked football with England manager Gareth Southgate, who played with him at Crystal Palace, leading the tributes.
“I’ll always remember the humility that he had. He just fitted into the group so easily and had the complete respect of everybody,” he said at the time.

Sir Alex Ferguson also paid his respects: “Ray was a great football man, who was well respected and liked by all who knew him and he always had a kind word and time for people.”

Despite only spending around four months at Aston Villa as a coach in his last role he also made a lasting impact on Jack Grealish.

Grealish tweeted at the time: “So upset to hear the news of Ray Wilkins. RIP Ray.A true gentleman and one of the nicest guys I’ve ever met.”

Who did he play for?

Soccer – League Division One – Chelsea Photocall
Ray Wilkins started his career at Chelsea. (PA)

He started his career at Chelsea in 1973 before moving to Manchester United and having a three-year spell at AC Milan.

He won two SPL titles at Rangers after a short spell at Paris St Germain and then spent an initial six years at QPR.

A brief time at Crystal Palace ended when he returned as QPR’s player/manager in 1994 and after leaving Loftus Road two years later he played for Wycombe, Millwall, Hibernian and Leyton Orient.

Wilkins also made 82 appearances for England, playing in the 1982 and 1986 World Cups.

Who did he manage?

Soccer – FA Cup – Final – Chelsea v Everton – Wembley Stadium
Ray Wilkins helped Chelsea win the 2009 FA Cup as assistant to manager Guus Hiddink. (Rebecca Naden/PA)

After his stint at QPR and following retirement, Wilkins took charge of Fulham between 1997 and 1998 and in 1999 he returned to Chelsea as first-team coach.

Spells at Watford, Millwall and England Under-21s followed before another coaching role at Stamford Bridge beckoned, before he left again in 2010.

Wilkins managed the Jordan national team briefly, between working at Fulham and Aston Villa, his last club before leaving in 2015.

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