Wales' soccer manager dies

2011-11-27 14:41
Gary Speed (File)
Cardiff - Gary Speed, who took over as Wales' soccer coach just 11 months ago after playing for his country a record 85 times, has died at the age of 42.

GALLERY: R.I.P Gary Speed

The Football Association of Wales (FAW) announced Speed's death on Sunday without giving the cause.

Local police said only that there were no suspicious circumstances surrounding Speed's death.

Speed is survived by his wife and two children.

"We extend our sympathies and condolences to the family," the FAW said in a statement. "We ask that everyone respects the family's privacy at this very sad time."

Speed, whose 85 caps is a Welsh record for an outfield player, had only become Wales coach in December in a move that had long been predicted by former team-mates and commentators.

Last year, Queen Elizabeth II gave Speed the Member of the British Empire award in her annual Birthday Honours list for his services to football.

"Just cannot believe the news regarding Gary Speed. We waved at each other a couple of days ago dropping our kids off at school. I'm numb," Manchester United striker Michael Owen wrote on Twitter.

Admired for his dedication, fitness and consistency in a 20-year playing career - as well as a knack for goals - Speed started out with Leeds and won the English league championship with the club in 1992.

Moving on to Everton and then Newcastle, Speed became the first player to play in 500 Premier League games and held the record with 535 until it was surpassed by goalkeeper David James in 2009.

Speed started his coaching career with Sheffield United last year and retired from playing only to help focus on leading the side. He took over Wales after John Toshack resigned and led the team to five wins from 10 matches, earning plaudits for the side's style of play and emphasis on youth.

Read more on:    international soccer  |  gary speed

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