Sven-Goran Eriksson has paid tribute to Ugo Ehiogu as an “extremely good, professional, and very nice man” following the former England international’s death on Friday, aged 44.
Ehiogu, who was working as coach of Tottenham Hotspur’s Under-23 team, died of a cardiac arrest after collapsing on Thursday at the club’s training ground in north London.
Eriksson, the former England manager, had given Ehiogu three of his four caps.
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“I will always remember him as an extremely good professional, a very, very nice man,” Eriksson told Newsweek . “It came as a shock for me to see he had died at 44 years old. It is sad for everyone. For sure, he will be remembered by all England football fans.”
Ehiogu had made his debut for England in 1996 during Terry Venables’s time as manager, but made his most significant contribution under Eriksson, the Swedish coach, who called the defender up to his squad three times. He scored his only goal for the national team during a 3-0 win over Spain at Villa Park in 2001. Eriksson recalls the first time he called Ehiogu, then at Middlesbrough, to give him the news of his inclusion in the squad.
“I saw him many times playing for Middlesbrough. I had him for three matches and what I saw was that he was a leader,” Eriksson says. “I think he was surprised to be called up at that time but he did very well for us. He was a big strong boy, a good headerer of the ball. I didn’t know until I read now that he’s under-23 coach at Tottenham which is fantastic.
“I think he was extremely dedicated to football but also [knew] how to play so I could imagine that he would become a great coach one day.
“To die at 44 is very sad for everybody, especially his family.”
Ehiogu also made over 200 appearances for Aston Villa between 1991 and 2000 before moving to the Riverside with Middlesbrough, where he spent seven years.
He retired in 2009 before taking up the coaching role at Tottenham in 2014.
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