LONDON: Alan Hodgkinson, who kept goal for England while playing his club football in the old Second Division, has died at 79.

He played 674 times for Sheffield United then went on to be a coach and was credited with bringing Peter Schmeichel to Manchester United.

He went on to work with clubs including Manchester Utd, Oxford and Gillingham and with the Scotland national team.

In a statement the club said: “‘Hodgy’ is, without doubt, one of the finest goalkeepers to have graced our club in its long history.”

Paying tribute to his former mentor, Schmeichel wrote on Twitter: “My good friend and first gk coach at @ManUtd has sadly passed away. My condolences to his family and friends. May he rest in peace.”

Born at Laughton Common in August 1936, Hodgkinson was signed by Sheffield United from Worksop Town for the sum of £250 after a trial in 1953.

He won five England caps between 1957 and 1960 and was a member of the England squad at the 1958 World Cup finals in Sweden. He did not play, being considered the No3 behind Burnley’s Colin McDonald and Bolton’s Eddie Hopkinson.