Dean Richards dies aged 36

LONDON, Former Tottenham Hotspur, Wolverhampton Wanderers and Southampton defender Dean Richards has died aged 36 after a long battle with a serious illness.

"Everyone at Wolves was saddened to hear of the death of Dean Richards, who passed away this morning," the Premier League club said on their website - sentiments which were echoed on the websites of both Spurs and Richards' first club, Bradford City.

Richards, who won four England under-21 caps, joined Wolves from Bradford in 1995 and made 145 appearances in four years at Molineux.

"Remembered for his trademark skilful breaks out of defence as well as his ability in the air, Richards will always be fondly remembered by Wolves fans who continued to follow his career closely when he moved on to Southampton and Tottenham," said the Wolves statement.

Richards joined Southampton in May 1999 and two years later moved on to Tottenham Hotspur in an £8.1 million transfer.

He played 81 times for the White Hart Lane side but was forced to retire in 2005 due to suffering frequent dizzy spells and headaches.

His last role was a youth team coach back at League Two side Bradford, the city of his birth.