Former England forward Worthington dies aged 72

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FILE PHOTO: Nat Lofthouse OBE Memorial Service

(Reuters) - Former England forward Frank Worthington, one of the most colourful players of his generation, died aged 72 following a long illness, his family said on Tuesday.

Worthington played for more than 20 clubs from 1966 to 1991, including Huddersfield Town, Leicester City, Bolton Wanderers and Birmingham City.

He scored 266 goals in 882 games in all competitions, having played in 22 consecutive Football League seasons from 1966-1987.

Worthington scored twice in eight appearances for England in 1974.

Worthington's most famous goal was for Bolton against Ipswich Town in a Division One match in 1979, when he juggled the ball with his back to goal on the edge of the penalty box before flicking it over the defence and firing into the net with a left-foot volley.

"It is with great sadness that the death is announced of football legend Frank Worthington who passed away last night," Worthington's family said in a statement.

"Frank died peacefully in hospital in Huddersfield following a long illness."

Ex-England international Gary Lineker, who started his career at Leicester City, described Worthington as his "boyhood hero".

"A beautiful footballer, a maverick and a wonderful character who was so kind to this young apprentice when he joined the club. RIP Frank (Elvis)," Lineker tweeted

(Reporting by Manasi Pathak in Bengaluru; Editing by Edmund Blair and Keith Weir)