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Photo: Gary Neville’s special tribute to the late Nobby Stiles

Nobby Stiles will mostly be remembered by the football world for being a key part of two famous sides: England’s World Cup-winners in 1966 and the Manchester United team that won the European Cup two years later.

At Manchester United his influence was massive.

After a successful playing career the midfielder turned to management and coaching. During his time as a coach, Stiles proved a major inspiration to a young Gary Neville as well as the other graduates from the famed ‘class of ’92’, who helped United dominate English football.

“It’s an incredibly sad day,” Neville told Sky Sports News (via Irish Examiner). “It’s an incredibly sad day. He loved Manchester United and he loved his country also. He represented both with great pride and spirit.

“He was fantastic to work with, a great man. His messages taught us how to battle and fight in the red shirt.

“His coaching style was typical of how he played the game. He wanted to make sure we were never intimidated on the pitch, that we went out there and demonstrated our desire. I can still hear him saying your best friends on the football pitch are your six studs.

“Nobby wanted us to go out there and make sure we always won the battle, to make sure we applied ourselves properly in our work ethic. He was a massive influence on us and everybody at the club. You don’t realise when you’re 16 but you realise now looking back how blessed we were to be in the company of people like Nobby Stiles. It was like the best football university you could ever have.”

Stiles played for United between 1960 and 1971, making 385 appearances.

Between 1989 and 1993, the Mancunian born football icon worked with United as their youth team coach.

“That group of young players, that Class of ’92, were taught how to be United players by Nobby,” Phil Neville wrote in The Times.

“He taught us what it meant to play for United and how we were expected to conduct ourselves.

“He instilled values and stayed with all of us, I think, not just throughout our careers as players but in all aspects of our lives.”

The Manchester United and England legend was given a tribute before kick-off in the FA Youth Cup semi-final defeat against Chelsea last night.

GNev aside, a number of Manchester United players who worked with Stiles in the 1990s took to social media to pay tribute to the World Cup winner’s impact on their careers.

We send our best wishes to the Stiles family.

Read more: Even the Defeats – David Beckham’s time at Manchester United comes to an end

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