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Chelsea youth coach Jody Morris has paid tribute to a man he described as a mentor throughout his career.

Morris is a Chelsea through and through, and was at the club from 1996 to 2003 before leaving for Leeds United. Since he retired from the game, he has returned to the club and has been working in the Chelsea academy.

Morris revealed that he learnt of Ray Wilkins’ death before the FA Youth Cup game against Birmingham on Wednesday night, and admitted it was a shocker for him.

“I was absolutely gutted to hear about his cardiac arrest last week but I was really hoping he’d pull through so to hear the news before the game was just devastating,” Morris told the official Chelsea website.

“Ray was a class act on the pitch and even more so off it and he was so good for me as a young player. His support never wavered even when others might at certain stages of my career and life. He was always on the end of the phone offering positive advice and I spoke with him a lot, even as recently as a few weeks back when he messaged congratulations after we beat Tottenham in the Youth Cup.

“He had a really keen eye on our young boys, partly because he was himself a home-grown Chelsea player, and there was nobody more vocal than him in pushing for our lads to get opportunities. He was a top-quality guy – it’s such a sad loss for his family and for the whole world of football.”

About the Author

Chelsea is more than just a football club to me; it's a passion I share, and my affinity with the Chelsea badge is one that will last forever. As far as watching my favourite team is concerned, I'd rather miss a meal than miss a Chelsea game.