England boss Gareth Southgate pays tribute to late Kevin Campbell and Matija Sarkic

england boss gareth southgate pays tribute to late kevin campbell and matija sarkic

kevincampbellmatijasarkic15062024b.jpg

Gareth Southgate has paid tribute to Kevin Campbell and revealed several players in his England squad have been shaken by the shock passing of Millwall goalkeeper Matija Sarkic.

Campbell, the former Arsenal and Everton striker, has died at the age of 54 following a short illness.

His former Gunners team-mate Ian Wright fought back tears while offering his reflections during ITV’s Euro 2024 coverage on Saturday afternoon and speaking on the eve of England’s opening game against Serbia, Southgate added his tribute.

“Kevin is the same age as me, I remember him being in Arsenal's youth team at a similar time and playing against him in reserve team football,” the Three Lions boss said. "Of course, we played against each other so often over the years. A hugely popular man.

“His son's also been in our junior pathway as well, so our thoughts are very much with his family at this time.

“Some of the tributes have been fabulous. People that clearly knew him better than I did talking about an amazing character. So, yes, a very sad day.”

Sarkic, meanwhile, died suddenly on Saturday morning at the age of just 26, with local media in Montenegro reporting that he collapsed in his apartment.

The Millwall stopper had played for his country in a 2-0 defeat to Belgium only last week.

Prior to joining the Lions, Sarkic had spells at Wolves and Aston Villa, playing alongside England defender Ezri Konsa and goalkeeper Tom Heaton, who is with the squad in Germany in a training capacity.

He also shared a dressing room with Ivan Toney when both were on loan at Wigan, while England’s goalkeeping coach Martyn Margetson worked with him at Swansea.

“I know that some of our players and staff actually played and worked with Matija as well, so both pieces of news were received with shock and great sadness,” Southgate said. “Clearly those boys that played with him are feeling that even more.”

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