England mourns the loss of World Cup winner Nobby Stiles

Nobby Stiles, one of only three Englishmen to win the World Cup and European Cup, as well as the domestic league and cup, has passed aged 78.

Popperfoto via Getty Images

Nobby Stiles, the former England and Manchester United midfielder, has passed away aged 78 following a long illness.Stiles was a key figure in his country’s World Cup success in 1966 and a member of Manchester United’s European Cup-winning team two years later.

A dogged, combative midfielder, Stiles was thought of just as affectionately for his gap-toothed smile and famous dance following that victory over West Germany in 1966 as he was for his impressive accomplishments on the pitch.

Stiles (centre) keeps close attention on West Germany's Siegfried Held  during the 1966 World Cup final
Stiles (centre) keeps close attention on West Germany's Siegfried Held during the 1966 World Cup final Popperfoto via Getty Images

An England hero

Stiles made his England debut in a 2-2 draw with neighbours Scotland in April 1965, keeping his place at the base of midfield for the following year’s World Cup on home soil.

A tough, uncompromising tackler, his job was to win the ball back and share it with the more accomplished technical players ahead of him. It was a role he fulfilled to perfection in the semi-final against Portugal and Eusebio, helping England to a 2-1 victory.

The final, against West Germany, remains English football’s finest hour, and Stiles again played his part across 120 scintillating minutes that ended in a 4-2 victory for the hosts.

He won a total of 28 England caps, scoring once, and was also a member of England squads for the European Championship of 1968 and World Cup in 1970.

 Stiles (left) celebrates United's 1968 European Cup win with Bobby Charlton and Bill Foulkes.
Stiles (left) celebrates United's 1968 European Cup win with Bobby Charlton and Bill Foulkes. Popperfoto via Getty Images

Club success

At club level, Mancunian Stiles spent the majority of his playing career with United, making his debut in 1960 and going on to make almost 400 appearances.

A winner of two league titles while at Old Trafford, Stiles was part of the United side that became the first English team to lift the European Cup in 1968, beating Benfica 4-1 on the same Wembley pitch he had enjoyed international glory with England.

He joined Middlesbrough in 1971, moving to Preston North End as a player-coach under his friend and former team-mate Bobby Charlton, in 1973.

Coaching career

Stiles briefly took over as Preston’s caretaker manager following Charlton’s resignation, also managing Vancouver Whitecaps in Canada and West Bromwich Albion during the 1980s.

His final coaching position was back at Manchester United with the youth team, where during the late ‘80s and early 1990s, he helped develop the talents of future Champions League winners Ryan Giggs, David Beckham and Paul Scholes.

He was awarded an MBE in 2000.