Sport Soccer

Sunday 25 February 2018

Brian McDermott claims he has a “good relationship” with Irish star Pearce despite talk of rift

Cormac Byrne

By Cormac Byrne

Manager Brian McDermott says there is a 'good relationship' between him and defender Alex Pearce despite speculation that the Irish international’s refusal to sign a new contract has caused a rift between the pair.

Pearce's contract runs out at the end of the season and while he has been offered a new deal he is yet to commit. Liverpool have expressed interest in the centre-back as they look to replace the retiring Jamie Carragher.

McDermott reiterated the he played Sean Morrison ahead of Pearce last weekend for purely football reasons.

Brian also likened him to 21-year-old Morrison, who he feels will go from strength to strength - like Pearce has done over the last three seasons.

"I've known Alex since he was 14 years of age," McDermott told the club website. "Three years ago, he was made skipper but maybe it was too early for him. I took him out of the team, and he dipped in and out of the team.

“I worked with him in the following season and then in the next season I said he's going to play every game. He was our Player of the Year and he won a medal.

“He's developing now into a good player and he can get better.

"We've got a really good relationship - if you ask Alex about that he'd probably tell you the same. We've had a good partnership and we've worked with him a lot. I had a really good chat with him, we'll see where he is in the summer. At this moment in time, nothing looks to be signed. We'll see.

"It was his man for the first goal (at Stoke) and he could have done better with the second one. Alex said it himself - straight away he knew. He's a big boy - we all are. I have no problem with that and he has no problem with that. He's a great lad, we get on really well.

"Sean Morrison is a young player who I think will be a very good player. He needs to develop as well - very much in the same way that Alex did over the three years. It's a similar sort of scenario."

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