London Football News

Chelsea legends lead outpouring of support for Wilkins

Frank Lampard, Gary Lineker and Didier Drogba have been among those sending best wishes to former England midfielder Ray Wilkins who is critically ill in hospital.

The 61-year-old ex-Chelsea, Manchester United and Rangers player fell after suffering a cardiac arrest, his wife Jackie is quoted saying in the Daily Mirror.

St George’s Hospital, in Tooting, south-west London, confirmed via a Twitter post that Wilkins was being treated there and “his condition is critical”.

“He’s in hospital, he’s had a cardiac arrest and is in intensive care,” the newspaper quoted Jackie Wilkins as saying.

“He’s not in a good state at all, I’m afraid. He’s critically ill.

“The cardiac arrest led to a fall which has meant he’s had to be put in an induced coma. It’s very, very bad.”

A post on the official Twitter account of St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust just before midnight on Saturday read: “We can confirm that Ray Wilkins is currently being treated at St George’s Hospital, and his condition is critical.

“His family have asked for privacy at this time, and we are tweeting this update with their agreement.”

Following the news of Wilkins’ illness, there has been an outpouring of support from former players, with Lampard posting a photo and a message on his Instagram account, with Lineker and Drogba also sending him their best wishes on Twitter.

Ruud Gullit, who crossed paths with Wilkins at both Milan and Chelsea, tweeted a photo of the midfielder in his Milan kit, with the message: “Stay strong my friend”.

Wilkins had carried out media duties on talkSPORT and Sky Sports – he is a regular on both platforms – shortly before suffering the cardiac arrest.

A winner of 84 England caps, he became the fourth player sent off while playing for his country when he was dismissed during the 1986 World Cup finals in Mexico in a game against Morocco.

Wilkins – known in the game by his childhood nickname ‘Butch’ – played for 12 sides and was on the coaching staff of several more, but is commonly associated with Chelsea. The club tweeted their support to him and his family.

He started his career there and spent six years with the Blues, while also having numerous stints as assistant manager. On one occasion, he led the side on a caretaker basis.

Carlo Ancelotti, under whom Wilkins worked at Stamford Bridge, once described him as having “real blue blood”.

During his career as a player, he won the FA Cup with Manchester United in 1983 and the Scottish title with Rangers in 1989.

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