Kevin Phillips has credited Glenn Roeder for setting him on the path to a successful career.
Roeder, the former West Ham, Newcastle and Watford manager, died on Sunday aged 65.
Phillips was signed for Watford from non-league Baldock Town by Roeder and went on to make 263 Premier League appearances, score 92 goals and win eight England caps.
“If it wasn’t for Glenn I wouldn’t have had the career I did,” Phillips told Watford’s website.
“He gave me the opportunity and the chance to live my dream and so I will be forever grateful. He was there when I lost my dad and convinced me to carry on playing football. He was a big inspiration for me.”
Former England goalkeeper David James was a team-mate of Roeder’s at Watford and later played under him at West Ham.
James said: “He was a wonderful, wonderful man. He was very helpful to me as a player and helped start the careers of other team-mates during that period.
“He was funny at times, serious at others and knew how to get that mix right. He was a wonderful human being and he’ll be greatly missed. It’s a terribly sad day.”
Former Hornets right-back Nigel Gibbs also told the club website of his respect for his ex-team-mate and manager.
He said: “When he came to Watford as a player he brought his experience and this really helped me as a player.
“He was a master of reading the game, always in the right place, intercepting attacks and clearing the danger.
“Glenn was a top player and had his trademark stepover that he could do so well. Everyone knew he was going to do it but still couldn’t stop it! He had a fantastic long career.
“When he became manager unfortunately it was the time I was injured for a long period.
“He was very supportive of me at this difficult time, always making sure I was involved and making sure I was OK during that period.
“I really appreciated that and that typified Glenn as a man. It’s such sad news. He was a real gentleman and a football man.”