Sheffield United have said they are devastated following the death of 27-year-old midfielder Maddy Cusack.

The respected footballer, who was named vice-captain last month, had just started her sixth season with the Blades in the Women's Championship and was the longest-serving member of the current squad.

Cusack joined the team back in January 2019 and last season became the first woman to reach 100 appearances for the club.

England and Scotland players paid tribute to Cusack ahead of their Women's Nations League match on Friday night.

They all wore black armbands and a period of silence was observed before kick-off at Sunderland's Stadium of Light.

The Blades plan to pay tribute to Cusack, who also worked in the club's marketing department, during Sunday's Premier League clash with Newcastle.

Cusack's picture will appear on the front of the club programme and players will wear black armbands, while discussions are ongoing over other possible tributes.

The former England youth international signed a new contract extension with the Blades in July.

A statement on the club's official website said: "Sheffield United Football Club is devastated to report the sad news of the passing of Maddy Cusack.

"Maddy, a women's team player since 2019 and marketing executive for the football club, passed away on Wednesday.

"A respected player, Maddy, 27, last season reached the milestone of 100 appearances for Sheffield United Women.

"Additionally, she was a valued colleague in the offices at Bramall Lane, moving over from the Sheffield United Community Foundation to the club in 2021 to help market all areas of the Blades."

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United's chief executive officer Stephen Bettis said: "This is heart-breaking news for everyone at Bramall Lane.

"Maddy had a unique position of being part of a number of teams at Sheffield United and was popular with everyone that she came into contact with.

"Her personality and professionalism made her a credit to her family - she will be sadly missed.

"While taking in the news and moving forward, the club will offer as much support as possible to Maddy's family, friends and colleagues."

2023-09-22T06:31:11Z dg43tfdfdgfd