Gary Mabbutt: Former Spurs and England defender almost lost leg

Former Tottenham captain Gary Mabbutt
Gary Mabbutt became the first diabetic to play for England when he won his first of 16 caps in 1982

Ex-Tottenham captain Gary Mabbutt has revealed he cannot kick a ball or run again after surgery to save his leg.

Mabbutt, who was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes as a teenager, underwent a five-hour operation to replace the main artery in his left leg in 2013.

The 53-year-old's diabetes triggered peripheral arterial disease, which blocked the blood vessels in his leg.

"I can no longer do any sport or go running, and my life is now a lot more sedentary," he told BBC Radio 5 live.

"It is frustrating that I cannot kick a ball ever again, but I still have my leg, which is the most important thing."

The former England international, who played for Tottenham for 16 years between 1982 and 1998, says he sought treatment after he woke in the middle of the night with leg pain.

"I was getting terrible pains in my left leg, which was freezing cold. I stayed up all night and called the specialist at 6 o'clock in the morning, and I was rushed to King's College Hospital in London," he said.

Mabbutt, who needed 112 staples in the leg to heal the 30-inch wound, says he is speaking about his situation to raise awareness for Diabetes UK's "Putting Feet First" external-linkcampaign.

"In this country, there are 120 amputations on diabetics every week, of which 80% are avoidable if there is early identification and treatment is given," he said.

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