Ray was a key midfielder for the England national football team during the 1980s, and enjoyed success at various clubs including Chelsea, Manchester United, AC Milan, Queens Park Rangers and Rangers.
Wilkins made his name in the 1970s with boyhood club Chelsea, whom he joined as an apprentice, progressing to his first team debut against Norwich City at the age of 17 on 26 October 1973 as a substitute in a 3-0 home league win.
In 1983 he scored in the FA Cup final, to put Manchester United 2–1 up against Brighton and Hove Albion. The game ended 2–2 after extra-time. Wilkins got his winners’ medal after United won the replay 4–0.
A year after collecting an FA Cup winner’s medal, United accepted an offer of £1.5 million from Italian giants Milan. Wilkins and his family settled quickly in Italy and Milan reached the final of the Coppa Italia in 1985.
During his time with Rangers he won the Scottish league title in 1989 and the Scottish League Cup. He also scored a memorable goal in an Old Firm derby against Celtic.
Wilkins was called up to play for England for the first time in 1976 by coach Don Revie and quickly made his debut against Italy during a mini-tournament in the U.S.. He was to become a permanent fixture in England squads for a decade to come.
He achieved one of his career highs after helping England qualify for the 1980 European Championships in Italy – the first tournament England had reached for a decade.
In 1997, Wilkins became the manager of Fulham, with former England teammate Kevin Keegan as “Chief Operating Officer” under him.
From 2004 on Wilkins was assistant coach to Peter Taylor with the England under 21’s until Peter left in early 2007.
In September 2008, Ray Wilkins was appointed assistant first team coach to Luiz Felipe Scolari at Chelsea, following Steve Clarke’s departure to West Ham United. In February 2009, following Scolari’s shock sacking, Wilkins was appointed as Chelsea’s caretaker manager for the Fifth round FA Cup tie with Watford.
Wilkins appears as a commentator for Sky Sports, particularly on their Champions League coverage. Since the departure of Andy Gray from the broadcaster in January 2011, he has also been given the role of co-commentator on a number of high profile Premier League and Champions League matches.
One of the most respected figures in football, Ray Wilkins is in demand as an after dinner speaker for his football anecdotes and memories.