May 16, 2020 / 12:17 PM / 13 days ago

Former Arsenal and England defender Sansom in hospital

FILE PHOTO: Football Soccer - European Championship Group Four Qualification - Turkey v England - Ataturk Stadium, Ikitelli, Turkey - April 29, 1987 Kenny Sansom of England in action REUTERS/Action Images/File Photo

LONDON (Reuters) - Former Arsenal and England defender Kenny Sansom, who played against Diego Maradona’s Argentina in the 1986 ‘Hand of God’ World Cup quarter-final, is being treated in hospital for an unspecified illness.

“Kenny is currently ill in hospital. He is being well cared for and does not have COVID-19,” a message on his Twitter account said.

Arsenal said in a separate tweet that their thoughts and prayers were with the 61-year-old “at this difficult time”.

Sansom, who made 86 appearances for England between 1979 and 1988 and also played 394 games for Arsenal, talked about his subsequent problems with gambling and alcoholism in a 2008 autobiography ‘To Cap It All’.

Five years ago he revealed he had been close to suicide after becoming homeless.

Sansom, who also played in the 1982 World Cup and is England’s second most capped full back after Ashley Cole, was in England’s line-up in Mexico City when Maradona used his hand to score a goal that the referee allowed.

Four minutes later, the Argentine added a second with a stroke of brilliance regarded as the greatest solo goal of all time. Argentina went on to win 2-1.

Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Christian Radnedge

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