England manager Gareth Southgate has paid tribute to his former teammate, Ugo Ehiogu who passed away earlier today.
Ehiogu was in charge of the U23 team at Tottenham and suffered a cardiac arrest, and Tottenham released a statement saying the former Aston Villa and Middlesbrough defender passed away today.
Ugo and Southgate partnered in the centre back at both Aston Villa and Middlesbrough and won League Cups at both teams. The England boss praised the contribution of his former teammate on the field of play and is devastated by his demise.
He said: “I’m stunned and deeply saddened by Ugo’s passing and clearly my initial thoughts are with his wife Gemma, his children and his family.
“I know that football will be grieving because he was so highly respected by everybody he worked with and losing him at such a young age is difficult to come to terms with.
“Most importantly, 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.
“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.
“We shared highs, lows and won a couple of trophies together with Villa and Boro and it’s those memories that I will always cherish when I think of Ugo.
“He was one of the most professional people I played with in terms of how he applied himself to his job and it was great to see him progressing though the coaching pathway with that thirst for learning.”
“I’ve spoken to several of our former team-mates today and there’s just a sense of disbelief that we’re having these conversations,” he said.
“Ugo was a credit to football, a credit to his family and he will be missed by everybody who was lucky enough to know him.”