Nobby Stiles, part of the England team which won the World Cup in 1966, has died aged 78 after a long illness.

Stiles, who was born in Collyhurst, was also part of the Manchester United side which became the first English club to win the European Cup two years later, when they beat Benfica in the final at Wembley.

A statement issued by the Stiles family read: “The Stiles family are sad to announce that Nobby Stiles passed away peacefully today surrounded by his family after a long illness.“The family kindly ask for privacy at this sad time.”

Stiles was credited with playing a key role in neutralising the threat of Portuguese star Eusebio in the World Cup semi-final. In total he won 28 caps, the lowest number of any of the World Cup-winning side.

Armfield with Ron Springett and Nobby Stiles as captain Bobby Moore presents Alf Ramsey with the Jules Rimet trophy in 1966

In total he won 28 caps, the lowest number of any of the World Cup-winning side.

Stiles was born in Collyhurst, Manchester, in May 1942, during an air raid.

He agreed apprentice terms with United in 1959, at a time when the club was still recovering from the Munich air disaster a year earlier in which eight players were killed.

Nobby Stiles with Bobby Charlton in their United days

He won league titles with the Red Devils in 1965 and 1967, before the continental success the following year. He was diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease more than 18 years ago.

Former England midfielder Peter Reid was one of the first to pay tribute to Stiles on social media.

“Nobby Stiles RIP,” he tweeted, alongside a heart emoji.

Stiles left United in 1971, going on to play for Middlesbrough and Preston.

He later managed the Lilywhites between 1977 and 1981, before coaching Canadian side Vancouver Whitecaps and then West Brom between 1985 and 1986.

Nobby Stiles

He returned to United as a youth team coach under Sir Alex Ferguson in 1989 for a four-year stint.

Former England striker Gary Lineker paid tribute to Stiles, singling out the former Manchester United player’s heart.

“Saddened to hear that Nobby Stiles has passed away,” Lineker tweeted.

“Another of our 1966 World Cup winning heroes leaves us. He had a heart that was even bigger than the gap in his teeth. RIP Nobby.

Stiles suffered a series of health issues in later life, including a dementia diagnosis.

Nobby Stiles and his son Rob

In 2010, after a mini-stroke, he decided to sell his medals in order to leave something to his family.

United bought them for £200,000 and the medals are now housed in the club’s museum.

Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham described Stiles as “Quite simply one of the greatest-ever Mancunians” on Twitter.

“From humble beginnings to a European & World Cup winner,” he tweeted.

1968 - Bill Foulkes (left) and Nobby Stiles (right)
1968 - Bill Foulkes (left) and Nobby Stiles (right)

“Much-loved in Greater Manchester & by millions across the country. We will miss you, Nobby, but thanks for all the memories. Our love to family and friends.”

England tweeted their condolences in a tweet.

Their post read: “We’re incredibly saddened to learn of the passing of Nobby Stiles, a key member of our @FIFAWorldCup-winning squad, at the age of 78.

“All of our thoughts are with Nobby’s loved ones.”