Former Pompey midfielder pays heartfelt tribute to Wilkins

Pompey fans sung well past the final whistle in the previous trip to Stevanage in March 2017. Picture: Joe Pepler

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Former Pompey midfielder Nigel Quashie has paid a heartfelt tribute to the late Ray Wilkins.

The former England captain sadly passed away at St George's Hospital, London, yesterday following a cardiac arrest aged 61.

Quashie, who made 163 appearances for the Blues between 2000-2005, worked under Wilkins when he was manager of Queens Park Rangers.

The Scotland international was handed his professional debut by the ex-Chelsea skipper in the Hoops' 2-1 defeat at Manchester United in December 1995.

Despite being a trainee at Loftus Road and thinking he was helping out with kit duties at Old Trafford, Quashie was in fact told he was starting the game.

And Wilkins not only organised for QPR to purchase Quashie's mother a train ticket so she could attend the match but also bought his family their first mobile phone.

The late Ray Wilkins. Picture: Lauren Hurley/PA Images

The late Ray Wilkins. Picture: Lauren Hurley/PA Images

In a post on Instagram, he said: 'I will always be proud to say how lucky I am to have been coached, managed and even meet you.

'If it wasn’t for you I would never have started my career playing football and will never forget going to Manchester United as a YTS trainee to do all the kit and boots in the changing room for the first team squad.

'One hour and 30 minutes before kick off you name the team and I was in it and that’s how my debut went, I didn’t even get to think about it because all you said was your number 18, here are your boots and shin pads, just go and play, have fun and treat it like your over the park with your mates.

'My mum never had a mobile phone back then because we couldn’t afford anything like that and everything went through her work or home phone.

'I asked you after the game if I could call home to speak to her, you said use my mobile and call this number.

'It was my mum on the other end of the line and she said she was outside by the away team bus, I went outside to see her and asked how did you get here because I knew she couldn’t afford it, she told me Ray had got the club to pay for her train ticket to come to the game and then told me Ray got the club to give us our first mobile phone in life during the week and he wanted to surprise me knowing I was making my debut.

'I was given a chance by Ray Wilkins one of the legends of the game and to this day you are the first person I mention when it comes to football and that will never change.

'You will be missed so much not just in the football world but as a real human being with such class.

'Thanks for everything and my thoughts go to all the family. Sleep well Sir Ray Wilkins #raywilkins #legend #football #pureclass #qpr.'