FORMER England, Huddersfield, Leeds and Leicester striker Frank Worthington, who was born in the Bradford area, has died following a long illness aged 72.

One of English football’s great mavericks, Worthington died peacefully in hospital on Monday evening following a long illness, his family announced in a statement.

Worthington, who was born into a footballing family in Shelf, won eight England caps, scoring two goals, and represented more than 20 clubs in a long playing career that began with Huddersfield in 1966, gaining cult hero status at every club he represented.

Worthington’s wife Carol paid tribute to the much-loved football showman, who died in hospital in Huddersfield.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Frank Worthington was known for his fashion and maverick personalityFrank Worthington was known for his fashion and maverick personality

“Frank brought joy to so many people throughout his career and in his private life,” Carol Worthington said.

“He will be greatly missed by everyone who loved him so much.”

Unashamedly non-establishment, Worthington hit the headlines as much for his off-field exploits as his rarefied talents on it.

Once described by former Huddersfield and Bolton manager Ian Greaves as “the working man’s George Best”, Worthington played in 22 consecutive Football League seasons from 1966, scoring 266 goals in 882 appearances in all competitions.

In 14 of those campaigns he played in the top division, notching 150 goals in 466 matches, and won the Golden Boot award in 1978/79 as the leading scorer ahead of Kenny Dalglish and Frank Stapleton.

Worthington’s first club Huddersfield tweeted: “Everyone at #htafc is devastated to hear of the passing of Town legend Frank Worthington. Our thoughts are with his family and friends.”

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Frank Worthington in action for BoltonFrank Worthington in action for Bolton

During his career, Worthington spent long stints at Huddersfield Town and Leicester City, while also turning out for Bolton Wanderers, Birmingham City, Leeds United, Sunderland, Southampton, Brighton and Hove Albion, Tranmere Rovers, Preston North End, Stockport County, Chorley, Stalybridge Celtic, Weymouth, Radcliffe Borough, Guiseley, Hinckley Town and Halifax Town.

He also represented a number of foreign clubs across the globe, at Philadelphia Fury, Mjallby AIF, Tampa Bay Rowdies, Cape Town Spurs, Galway United and Cemaes Bay.