Robbie Savage says he will dedicate this Saturday’s Strictly Come Dancing performance to his former Wales team-mate Gary Speed.
Speed was found dead at his home on Sunday, having apparently taken his own life.
Savage last saw the Wales football manager as he sat with his wife in the front row at Strictly four weeks ago and said he had struggled to keep his mind on dancing since the news of his friend’s death.
Savage said on Twitter: “So hard to concentrate on dancing this week. Head’s all over the place. Going to be so emotional, as the last place I seen Speedo was in studio.
“I’m going to make him proud of his mate. He loved Strictly. My performance is for him. Still stunned.”
He told BBC Radio 1 DJ Vernon Kay: “On the football pitch you can wear black armbands, you can have a minute’s silence but fortunately I can show my respects to 13 million people on Saturday night. I’m just going to go and dance for him.”
This Saturday, Savage will perform a quickstep with partner Ola Jordan to Little Green Bag by Pete Green Selection, a song best known to many from the soundtrack to Quentin Tarantino movie Reservoir Dogs.
Following the news of Speed’s death, Savage paid an emotional tribute. “My captain, my hero, my mate is gone and I can’t understand why,” he said.
“He had the world at his feet and the ironic thing is that he was the guy you would always go to if you ever had a problem.
“Since I’ve been doing Strictly he’s phoned me every Saturday morning to wish me good luck and have a laugh.
“We were joking around like usual, talking about football and dancing. One of the last things he said to me was, ‘don’t get a two off Craig’”.
“Then I found out at 10 o’clock on Sunday, and it feels surreal to know I’ll never get that call off Gary again.
“I’d grown very close to him over the last year or so. He’d always been a friend. But in that time we’d become best friends.
“There are people in football who will drop you like a stone when you retire but that’s not Gary. He had time for everyone, always. He was a lovely guy.
“It was an honour to know him and an honour to play with him.”