Friday 20 September 2019

'If there was mischief going on, he was never far away' - John O'Shea pays personal tribute to late Liam Miller

Liam Miller and John O'Shea on Ireland duty
Liam Miller and John O'Shea on Ireland duty
Liam Miller: ‘A good friend’. Photo: Sportsfile

Colin Young

Sunderland captain John O'Shea paid his own tribute to former team-mate Liam Miller before a minute's applause at the Stadium of Light yesterday.

The veteran Ireland defender played alongside Miller with Manchester United and Ireland and had known the midfielder since they were youth players in Cork and Waterford. Miller, who was signed by Roy Keane for Sunderland 12 years ago, passed away last week after a battle with cancer.

In his captain's programme notes, O'Shea paid tribute to the 36-year-old whose name was sang by Sunderland supporters before their 2-0 home defeat to Brentford. O'Shea said: "He was a good friend and an even better team-mate. Liam and I met when we were in the Irish under 15s and played through all the youth levels together, including winning the European Championships at under 16s.

"Before I chose to go to Manchester United, I almost joined Liam at Celtic. I was very close to going there. Liam and Jim Goodwin were there - two lads I'd played with in the Irish team - and the fact we'd got on so well was one of the reasons I was thinking about joining.

"Liam later joined me at Manchester United and we had a fantastic time there. He was well liked at all his clubs - including Sunderland, where he played a key part in getting the club back into the Premier League.

"Liam's ability on the ball was there for everyone to see. His timing of runs and passing was quality and he had a good knack for getting goals too.

"The big thing, though, was his personality. Maybe people thought he was quiet. Believe me - Liam was far from it. If there was mischief going on, he was never far away.

"It is so sad that Liam left us so soon. The amount of people at his funeral speaks volumes about him as a person. He had so many more things to look forward to in life. He had started to coach and had a beautiful family to be a part of and watch grow, and now that has been taken away."

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