Manchester City winger Adam Johnson has spoken of his shock at the death of his friend Dale Roberts, the Dagenham and Redbridge goalkeeper who commited suicide on Tuesday.
Roberts, who was friends with Johnson from their time together at school and the Middlesbrough academy, was found dead at his home in Higham Ferrers, near Rushden, having reportedly hanged himself.
Johnson, who is in Juventus preparing to play for City in their final Europa League group games, insisted he will dedicate his performance in Turin to Roberts.
"I'm absolutely devastated about Dale's passing. He was a really good friend,'' Johnson told City's website. "I grew up with Dale. We were in the same class at school and also played at Middlesbrough together. His parents are friends with my parents and we often went on holiday together.
"I know he was so desperate to improve and get up the leagues, he was a really good keeper, too. My heart goes out to his family and friends and I will really miss him. I am going to play in honour of Dale and dedicate my performance and hopefully a victory to his memory.''
Roberts' fiancee and parents issued statements on Wednesday speaking of their devastation. His fiancee Lindsey Cowan, described the 24-year-old as "my childhood sweetheart and the love of my life''.
Rushden's FA Trophy first-round replay against Eastwood Town has been postponed and chairman Gary Calder said in a statement on Tuesday: ''It is with great sadness that this afternoon our England C goalkeeper Dale Roberts passed away. Our thoughts and prayers at this time go to his parents, family and friends."