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Tributes to Leeds United's legendary hard man Norman Hunter after Covid-19 death

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Norman Hunter

Norman Hunter

PA

Stuart Dallas

Stuart Dallas

Norman Hunter

Northern Ireland footballer Stuart Dallas has paid tribute to former Leeds defender Norman Hunter, who has died aged 76 after contracting the coronavirus.

Hard man Hunter was part of the hugely successful Leeds side of the late 1960s and 1970s.

He played 28 times for England and was part of the World Cup-winning squad of 1966. He had been admitted to hospital last week after being diagnosed with Covid-19.

He won two First Division titles, the FA Cup, League Cup and two Inter-Cities Fairs Cups with Leeds.

Dallas (right), Leeds's Cookstown-born winger, tweeted: Heartbreaking news. My thoughts are with his friends and family at this difficult time. RIP Norman."

Gary McAllister, a former captain and manager at Elland Road, said: "In the truest sense of the word he is a legend and he set the levels at Leeds."

Eddie Gray also paid tribute to his former Elland Road team-mate, telling talkSPORT: "Norman was an iconic figure in football, especially at the club."

Hunter was the inaugural winner of the Professional Footballers' Association player of the year award in 1974, the same year that he won his second league title with Leeds.

The players' union also paid tribute in a tweet.

"All at the PFA are deeply saddened to hear of Norman Hunter's passing," the tweet read. "Football has lost a legend."

Hunter was born in Eighton Banks, County Durham, on October 29, 1943.

He joined Leeds from Birtley Juniors and made his professional debut in September 1962.

Current Leeds chief executive Angus Kinnear said: "Leeds United will never forget Norman Hunter, he will always be in our hearts."

Belfast Telegraph