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Ugo Ehiogu, former England and Aston Villa defender – obituary

Ugo Ehiogu in his Aston Villa days being mobbed by fans, 1994
Ugo Ehiogu in his Aston Villa days being mobbed by fans, 1994 Credit: David Jones/PA Wire

Ugo Ehiogu, who has died aged 44, was a thoughtful, imposing, accomplished central defender, notably for Aston Villa, Middlesbrough and England; latterly he had shown great promise as the coach of Spurs’s emerging generation of footballers.

Despite having made only two appearances for West Bromwich Albion, both as a substitute, Ehiogu was signed by Ron Atkinson for Villa in 1991 aged 19. Standing well over 6 ft and weighing some 15 st, he made a formidable yet mobile obstacle, though in the dressing room his presence radiated friendliness and calm.

Ugo Ehiogu of Aston Villa during a game against Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough, 1998 Credit: Mark Thompson /Allsport

He went on to make some 300 appearances for the club in the next nine years, establishing himself at the heart of the defence beside Paul McGrath and Gareth Southgate, the present England manager.

With the likes of Dwight Yorke and Dalian Atkinson up front, the side enjoyed at times surprising success in the league, and in 1996 Ehiogu was part of...

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