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Alarm bells sounding for Everton

Everton
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Gary Speed dead aged 42

The Football Association of Wales (FAW) has announced that Gary Speed has died at the age of 42.

• Tributes pour in for Speed
• Wilkinson talks of 'tragic loss'
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• Gary Speed gallery

Police stated Speed was found hanged on Sunday morning after committing suicide. He leaves a wife and two children.

Speed was one of the Premier League greats, the first player to make 500 appearances in the competition across spells with Leeds United, Everton, Newcastle United and Bolton Wanderers. He held the record of 535 Premier League appearances until David James passed that landmark.

He won the league title with Leeds in 1992, the last season before the Premier League began. He was twice an FA Cup runner-up with Newcastle United.

In total he made over 700 appearances before retiring from playing at Sheffield United in 2010. He made his final appearance against Wolves on November 25, 2008.

The midfielder won 85 international caps for Wales and took over as coach of the national side in December 2010 after a brief spell as boss of Champinship side Sheffield United.

In 2010 he was awarded an MBE for services to football.

He only appeared on the BBC's Football Focus magazine programme on Saturday lunchtime.

Speed transformed a Wales side which had dropped down to 112th in the FIFA rankings when he took charge. After a slow start he presided over a run of four wins in five games, the other match being a narrow loss away to England, which saw Wales surge up the rankings to 45th last month.

An FAW statement said: "The Football Association of Wales are sad to announce the death of the national team manager Gary Speed. We extend our sympathies and condolences to the family. We ask that everyone respects the family's privacy at this very sad time.''

A spokeswoman for Cheshire Police said: "At 7.08am today, Cheshire Police was informed of a sudden death at an address in Huntington, Chester.

"Officers went to the scene where a 42-year-old man was found dead. The next of kin have been informed and have confirmed the identity of the man as Gary Speed.

"There are no suspicious circumstances surrounding the death. The family have requested that they are left in peace to grieve at this difficult time. A family tribute will be released at a later date but not today.''

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