ENGLAND and Gary Lineker led the tributes from the football family for World Cup-winner Nobby Stiles, who died aged 78.
The Manchester United legend passed away today after a long illness.
Stiles played a crucial role in the Three Lions’ greatest hour – the World Cup win on home soil in 1966 – before famously dancing on the Wembley pitch after beating West Germany in the final.
Players past and present, as well as the wider football world, flooded social media with messages of condolences for the Stiles family and their memories of the holding midfielder following the tragic news.
Former England striker and Match of the Day host Lineker said: “Saddened to hear that Nobby Stiles has passed away.
“Another of our 1966 World Cup winning heroes leaves us. He had a heart that was even bigger than the gap in his teeth. RIP Nobby.”
England’s official Twitter account wrote: “We’re incredibly saddened to learn of the passing of Nobby Stiles, a key member of our @FIFAWorldCup
-winning squad, at the age of 78. All of our thoughts are with Nobby’s loved ones.”
United and England man Marcus Rashford replied with a heartbroken emoji.
Manchester United – for whom Stiles played 395 times – added: “We are extremely saddened to learn of the passing of Nobby Stiles MBE.
“An integral part of our first-ever European Cup-winning side, Nobby was a titan of the club’s history, cherished for his heart and personality on and off the pitch. He will be sorely missed by us all.”
Red Devils hero Gary Neville tweeted: “Rest in Peace Nobby. Thank you for all you did for us.
“You taught us how to fight for everything in that red shirt. ‘Your studs are your best friends out there.'”
Danny Higginbotham added: “Such sad news to hear that Nobby Stiles has passed away. I know he was ill for a while but doesn’t take away the shock.
“He was my coach as a kid @ManUtd and what an unbelievably humble human being. A massive influence on myself as a youngster. Thoughts and love with his family.”
Fellow ex-United man Ben Thornley wrote: “Extremely sad to learn of the death of Nobby Stiles.
“It was an honour to be tutored in my early years at Man Utd by, not only a colossus for both club and country, but a gentleman of the highest order. God bless Nobby and to the family you leave behind.”
Another player who started out at Old Trafford, Robbie Savage, posted: “Extremely saddened by the death of Nobby Stiles. As a 16-year-old boy at Manchester United, it was a privilege to be coached by a legend of the game and a true gentleman.
“His advice and guidance helped me throughout my career and my thoughts and condolences go to his family. RIP.”
England’s most-capped male international, Peter Shilton, said: “So sad to hear the news of Nobby Stiles a great person who I admired very much one of the great 66 Legends @England RIP.”