12 Nov 2010

Wilkins leaves Chelsea

6:16 am on 12 November 2010

The Chelsea assistant manager Ray Wilkins has left the English football champions with immediate effect.

No reason has been given for the sudden departure of Carlo Ancelotti's trusted right-hand man, a former Chelsea midfielder and England international.

The 54-year-old, who began his career at Chelsea and made 179 appearances before joining Manchester United in 1979, has been a steadying influence behind the scenes at Stamford Bridge in recent seasons.

He was appointed assistant coach at Chelsea under Luiz Felipe Scolari and briefly took charge of the first team when the Brazilian was sacked in 2009.

Wilkins worked as assistant to Dutchman Guus Hiddink during his short reign and continued in that role when Italian Ancelotti became manager -- helping lead Chelsea to last season's Premier League title.

Wilkins, whose career also took in spells with Milan and Rangers, is a fluent Italian speaker and is credited with maintaining strong links between the players and the coaching staff at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea's website said that Wilkins had not been offered a new contract and that he would leave immediately.