England manager Gareth Southgate pays tribute to 'colossus' Ugo Ehiogu

Telegraph Sport

England manager Gareth Southgate has paid tribute to former team-mate Ugo Ehiogu, describing him as a colossus on the pitch and a gentleman off it. 

Southgate partnered Ehiogu at Aston Villa and Middlesbrough for almost 10 years, winning the League Cup at both clubs. 

Ehiogu died in the early hours of Friday morning after suffering a cardiac arrest and collapsing at Tottenham's training ground, where he worked as a coach, on Thursday. 

Southgate 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. 

Southgate and Ehiogu at Aston Villa Credit: Rex Features

"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 through the coaching pathway with that thirst for learning.

"I've spoken to several of our former teammates today and there's just a sense of disbelief that we're having these conversations.

"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." 

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