EDDIE Howe has joined the world of football in paying tribute to former Aston Villa and England defender Ugo Ehiogu, who has died at the age of 44.

Ehiogu, who had been working as Tottenham's under-23s coach, reportedly suffered a cardiac arrest at the London club's training centre yesterday.

He died in hospital in the early hours of this morning.

Howe said: "I am devastated for him and his family. It is tragic news, someone so young.

"I watched him play many times and was a great admirer of him as a footballer. I heard yesterday he had been taken ill and it is tragic news."

Ehiogu was capped four times by his country and won the League Cup on three occasions during a 20-year playing career.

He joined Villa from West Brom in 1991 and went on to play for Middlesbrough, Rangers and Sheffield United before his retirement in 2009.

Ehiogu won the third of his League Cup medals with Boro, who visit Vitality Stadium for a Premier League clash tomorrow.

Supporters of the north east club – where Ehiogu spent six years from October 2000 – will remember their former player by applauding and singing his name in the 44th minute of the match.