Rushden keeper's death 'devastates' old friend Johnson

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The Independent Football

Adam Johnson has paid tribute to the Rushden & Diamonds goalkeeper Dale Roberts, who died on Tuesday. The Manchester City winger was very good friends with Roberts, having grown up with him and been in the same class at school in Co Durham.

"I'm absolutely devastated about Dale's passing," said Johnson. "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," he added. "I know he was so desperate to improve and get up the leagues as a player, and he was a really good keeper too. My heart goes out to his family and friends – he was one of my best friends and I'll really miss him."

Johnson is with City in Italy for tonight's Europa League game against Juventus and has vowed to give his all in memory of his friend.

"I'm going to go out to Juventus to play in honour of Dale and dedicate my performance and, hopefully, a victory to his memory," he said.

Roberts' body was found at his home in Higham Ferrers and Northamptonshire Police believe there were no "suspicious circumstances".

Seven months ago it was reported that Roberts' fiancée Lindsey Cowan was having an affair with Paul Terry, the brother of Chelsea captain John and a team-mate of Roberts at Rushden.

Terry subsequently left the club and joined Darlington in August.