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Thursday, February 21

England

Hero, mentor and inspiration - fellow goalkeepers pay tribute to Gordon Banks

Peter Shilton and Peter Schmeichel were among those to salute Banks' greatness.

Gordon Banks, who has died at the age of 81, is regarded as England's greatest ever goalkeeper and one of the finest the world has ever seen.

Here, Press Association Sport takes a look at some of the tributes paid to England's World Cup hero by other famous keepers:

Peter Shilton

Peter Shilton (left) succeeded Gordon Banks (right) as England's number one (PA)

Shilton succeeded Banks as the number one at Leicester, Stoke and England. He said on Sky Sports: "Gordon was my hero when I was a youngster watching Leicester City on the terraces. I eventually joined the club and quickly became his understudy at 16. I trained with him for about a year once a week and he was always helpful, he was always a gentlemen. Then Leicester sold Gordon to Stoke and I took over.

"I was understudy in the England squad as well for a number of years and in that era, he was just a great goalkeeper. When you work with Gordon, it's bound to rub off on you a little bit. I always admired his positional play in that era. It was a different era for goalkeepers, different rules. But it was still the same job, keep the ball out of the net, and he was the best around at the time.

"We had a friendship – we were rivals as well, but we had a friendship – and it's just so tragic news that he's finally gone. I know he hadn't been very well, but it's hit me quite hard that he's actually passed away."

Peter Schmeichel

The former Manchester United keeper's save from Rapid Vienna's Rene Wagner in 1996 drew comparisons to Banks' unforgettable stop from Pele in 1970. The Dane said on Twitter: "So sad to hear that Gordon Banks one of my heroes and a true legend in life and football, has passed away. An inspiration, a winner and a true gentleman. My thoughts are with his family and friends. #RIPGordonBanks"

Ray Clemence

Ray Clemence won his first of 61 England caps in November 1972, six months after Banks played his final game for his country. The former Liverpool and Tottenham keeper said on Sky Sports: "The whole football world is so deeply saddened by it, and particularly myself.

"What I loved about him was he made the game of goalkeeping look so ridiculously easy, and yet [was] capable of making incredible saves like the one against Pele. He will be remembered for that, but also he will be remembered for being a wonderful, wonderful person. He always had time for people, always had a smile on his face, never bragged about what a great, great goalkeeper he was.

"Certainly he was a great mentor for me, not only on the training ground and how to play in games, but also how to behave off the field as well."

David Seaman

David Seaman paid tribute to Gordon Banks (Adam Butler/PA)

The former Arsenal great, who won 75 caps for England, tweeted: "So sad to hear of the passing of a true legend #gordonbanks"

Neville Southall

Former Everton and Wales keeper Neville Southall tweeted: "A incredible keeper and it was a joy to have met and worked with him A true gentleman"

Jordan Pickford

Current England number one Jordan Pickford tweeted a video of Banks' save from Pele and wrote: "One of the greatest saves of all time. RIP Gordon Banks. A true legend of the game. All my thoughts with your family and friends at this difficult time."

Gianluigi Buffon

The former Italy keeper, who has 176 international caps and won the World Cup in 2006, tweeted that Banks had been an inspiration to his career.

"I am one of the many who built their dreams on your perfect save! Once more, with all my heart: thank you, dear #GordonBanks"



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