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Arsenal legend Rice being treated for cancer

ESPN staff
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Rice first joined Arsenal in 1966 © Getty Images
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Former Arsenal assistant manager Pat Rice is being treated for cancer in hospital.

Rice, 64, spent almost all his professional career with the Gunners, with the right-back spending 14 years on the club's books as a player between 1966 and 1980.

Following a four-year playing spell with Watford, he returned to Arsenal as a youth team coach before becoming Arsene Wenger's right-hand man when the Frenchman arrived in 1996.

After 16 years in the role, he retired from coaching at the end of the 2011-12 season at the age of 63.

An Arsenal spokesman told the Daily Mirror: "Our thoughts are with Pat and his family. Everyone at Arsenal sends him our best wishes."

A former Gunners captain, he led the side to the 1977 FA Cup final success against Manchester United and he is one of only three Arsenal players, along with David Seaman and Ray Parlour, to have featured in five FA Cup finals. He was part of only the second-ever team to the Double of the championship and FA Cup in 1970-71.

Rice, who acted as caretaker boss for three games between the reigns of Bruce Rioch and Wenger, made more than 500 appearances for Arsenal and also won 49 caps for Northern Ireland.

He was awarded the MBE for services to sport in the New Year Honours list for 2013.

When Rice left the club, Wenger said: "Pat is a true Arsenal legend and has committed almost his whole life to Arsenal Football Club, which shows huge loyalty and devotion. I will always be indebted to him for his expert insight."

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