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Frank Worthington: Former England international forward dies aged 72

Frank Worthington passed away peacefully in hospital; forward was regarded as one of the most talented footballers of his generation; Worthington was capped eight times by England and played for over 20 clubs during a long career

Former Huddersfield, Leicester and Bolton striker Frank Worthington has died at the age of 72 following a long illness.

One of English football’s great maverick talents, Worthington died peacefully in hospital on March 22, his family announced in a statement to the PA news agency.

Worthington won eight England caps and represented over 20 clubs in a long playing career that began with Huddersfield in 1966.

Regarded as one of the great showmen of the game, Worthington was once described by former Huddersfield and Bolton manager Ian Greaves as “the working man’s George Best”.

He played in 22 consecutive Football League seasons from 1966/7, scoring 266 goals in 882 appearances in all competitions.

In 14 of those seasons, he played in the top division, notching 150 goals in 466 matches, and won the Golden Boot award in 1978/79 as the leading scorer ahead of Kenny Dalglish and Frank Stapleton.

A statement from Worthington’s family on Tuesday read: “It is with great sadness that the death is announced of football legend Frank Worthington who passed away last night.

“A spokesman for his wife Carol said Frank died peacefully in hospital in Huddersfield following a long illness.”

Worthington’s wife Carol said: “Frank brought joy to so many people throughout his career and in his private life.

“He will be greatly missed by everyone who loved him so much.”

Worthington’s first club Huddersfield tweeted: “Everyone at #htafc is devastated to hear of the passing of Town legend Frank Worthington. Our thoughts are with his family and friends.”

Leicester and England great Gary Lineker also offered his condolences on Twitter.

“Profoundly saddened to hear that Frank Worthington has died. He was my boyhood hero when he was at @LCFC,” Lineker posted.

“A beautiful footballer, a maverick and a wonderful character who was so kind to this young apprentice when he joined the club. RIP Frank (Elvis).”

England also paid tribute, with a message on the national team’s Twitter account reading: “We’re deeply saddened to learn that Frank Worthington, who represented the Three Lions eight times in 1974, has passed away at the age of 72.

“All of our thoughts are with his family and friends.”

Southampton saluted Worthington for the joy he brought to the south coast in his one-year stint with the Saints.

“Saints FC is saddened by the passing of Frank Worthington, who lit up The Dell with his talents in 1983/84. Our thoughts are with Frank’s loved ones,” the club tweeted.

Professional Footballers’ Association chief executive Gordon Taylor said: “Very sad to hear about the passing of Frank Worthington, a great player and great character, who lit up the game and then went on to be a marvellous after-dinner speaker with his football tales.

“Our deepest sympathies go to Carol and all his family. He will be much missed but never forgotten.”

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