World Cup winner Jimmy Armfield, right, is receiving cancer treatment

England soccer legend Jimmy Armfield shocked fans today by revealing he is receiving cancer treatment for the second time.

But the 81-year-old ex- Blackpool FC and football icon, who is about to complete a daily radiotherapy course, stressed he is optimistic for the future.

Armfield, who previously received successful treatment for Non-Hodgkin lymphoma in 2007, has declined to reveal precise details about the nature of his latest illness.

The BBC Radio Five Live commentator broke the news after failing to pick up his award in person this week at the Football Business Awards in London.

But today he said: “I had surgery and I have been attending the Rosemere centre in Preston for daily treatment as a day patient.

“I finish the treatment this weekend and the consultant who I am seeing again seems confident.

“I think I am now through a lot of the difficult part and it is nowhere near as evasive as last time.

“I have had these health issues since the beginning of September, but I am better now than I have been for over a month.

“It is amazing how quickly medicine has moved on, and I am thankful for that.”

The retired defender added: “I don’t feel poorly – I can get out and about, go shopping and go for a walk.”

Armfield says he does not ‘feel poorly’

Armfield, awarded an OBE in 2000 for services to the sport, played 43 times for England between 1959 and 1966 and was a member of our 1966 World Cup winning side.

He spent his entire senior career playing in the right-back position at Blackpool, from 1954 to 1971, making 569 appearances and scoring six goals.

The daily hospital treatment meant he was unable to attend a ceremony in London on Thursday to receive the latest in a series of accolades for his services to football, as player, coach, manager, journalist and radio pundit over the best part of seven decades.

Armfield was named global football ambassador at the Football Business Awards ceremony at the Emirates Stadium, home of Arsenal FC.

The award was presented by Jonathan Wall, Controller Of BBC Radio Five Live, for whom Armfield has worked since it first went on air.

Such recognition reflects outstanding service to the game and accepting the prize on Armfield’s behalf was Jim Hicks, head of coaching at the Professional Footballers Association.

The only two footballers to achieve the award before were Sir Bobby Charlton and Sir Trevor Brooking .

Disappointed not to attend because of the completion of his treatment, Armfield said: “Bobby and Trevor are not a bad two to follow!

“The award came out of the blue and I had no idea I was going to receive it and I am grateful.

“It is disappointing that I can’t go, but there is nothing I can do about that. Your health is important, particularly at my age.”