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Dale Roberts remembered by former clubs

15 December 10 09:51 GMT

The former clubs of Dale Roberts have been paying their respects after the 24-year-old goalkeeper died on Tuesday.

Horden-born Roberts, who started at Nottingham Forest, had loan spells with Eastwood Town and Alfreton Town before joining Rushden & Diamonds in 2009.

"Our thoughts and prayers at this time go to his parents, family and friends," said Diamonds chairman Gary Calder.

An Eastwood statement added: "He was only with us a short time but made a big impression."

It continued: "All at Eastwood Town send their sincere condolences to Dale's family, friends and colleagues."

Roberts was found at his home in Higham Ferrers, Northamptonshire and while the cause of death is unknown police say they are not treating the circumstances as suspicious.

Forest chief executive Mark Arthur said: "Dale was a talented goalkeeper who had a highly promising career in the game ahead of him.

"His death is a tragedy and our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends at this enormously sad time."

Alfreton described his 47-game loan spell from Nottingham Forest in the 2006-07 campaign as "hugely impressive" and the Derbyshire club also passed on its condolences to Dale's family and friends.

Roberts was a member of the Sunderland and Middlesbrough academies before signing professional terms with Forest.

He played 12 times for Eastwood following a loan move in March 2006, and helped the club win the Notts Senior Cup that year.

The whole of the next campaign was spent at Alfreton before two separate loan spells with Rushden led to a permanent switch in January 2009.

In total he made 91 appearances for Diamonds and was voted the England C player of the season in 2009-10 after becoming an international regular last year.

England C manager Paul Fairclough said: "On behalf of The Football Association Representative Matches Committee, England C team staff and players, I wish to say how saddened I am at the tragic loss of life of Dale Roberts.

"Dale, as well as being an outstanding goalkeeper, was an outstanding young man in every sense of the word.

"These sentiments serve little to describe the magnitude of this shocking bereavement. My thoughts are with his family and all those who have been touched by this true gentleman."

The FA's general secretary Alex Horne added: "On behalf of everyone at The FA, I'd like to extend my deepest sympathy to the family and friends of Dale Roberts.

"England C Team manager Paul Fairclough and everyone connected with the squad have had nothing but good things to say about Dale.

"It's a tragic loss of life and will be felt throughout the football family."

Middlesbrough academy manager Dave Parnaby said: "Dale joined us as a 16-year-old and was part of the FA Youth Cup-wining squad in 2004.

"He was a credit to his family and a really good lad.

"It was a pleasure to work with Dale and everyone in the academy sends their heartfelt condolences to his family and friends."

Sunderland chairman Niall Quinn commented: "Dale was a local lad and his passing has shocked the footballing family.

"On behalf of everyone at the club I would like to express my deepest condolences to Dale's family and friends.

"He was a popular player at Rushden and looked set for a promising career. That this has now been cut short is nothing short of a tragedy."

England and Manchester City midfielder Adam Johnson, who played alongside Roberts in the Middlesbrough academy, said he was "devastated" by the news.

He added: "He was a really good friend. 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."

Saturday's Blue Square Bet Premier match against Eastbourne has also been postponed, with a new date for the fixture yet to be set.

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