Burnley new-boy Vokes pays tribute to Gary Speed

Sam Vokes celebrates scoring a goal for Wales
Sam Vokes celebrates scoring a goal for Wales

STRIKER Sam Vokes has paid tribute to Gary Speed after his tragic death.

The Wales manager was found hanged at his home in Chester on Sunday after apparently committing suicide.

Wales manager Gary Speed during UEFA Euro 2012 Qualifying match at the Vassil Levski Stadion, Sofia, Bulgaria. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday October 11, 2011. See PA story SOCCER Wales. Photo credit should read: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire.

Wales manager Gary Speed during UEFA Euro 2012 Qualifying match at the Vassil Levski Stadion, Sofia, Bulgaria. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday October 11, 2011. See PA story SOCCER Wales. Photo credit should read: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire.

The entire football community was stunned by the news, just hours after the 42-year-old had appeared on BBC’s Football Focus programme, seemingly in good spirits.

Vokes, on loan from Wolves, scored twice for Wales in Speed’s last game in charge against Norway earlier this month, and the 22-year-old said: “It hasn’t really sunk in, to be fair.

“It’s sad news for the whole of the football world and everyone’s thoughts are with his family at this tough time.

“It’s only a couple of weeks ago since I last saw him, and he was so positive and looking to go forward with the Welsh set up.

“I spoke to a few of the lads and it’s hit everyone hard.

“I grew up watching him and he was a fantastic footballer and an ambassador for the game, a great role model.

“I personally owe a lot to him.

“He was very upbeat, looking towards the World Cup, he had big plans for that, and it would be a nice tribute if we could take that forward for him.

“He set it in stone, his goal was the 2014 World Cup.”