Every game, I play for her - Harry Arter
Ireland midfielder Harry Arter has opened up on the devastating loss of his stillborn daughter Renee.
The dynamic Bournemouth star put in a man-of-the-match performance in a 2-1 win over Manchester United on December 12 - just hours after it was revealed that his fiancee Rachel had lost their baby daughter Renee days before her due date.
Yesterday, Arter spoke of the heartbreaking events in an emotional in-depth interview with the Guardian.
Arter recalled "the 'worst day of my life" when he saw Rachel crying in the hospital after hearing the devastating news.
"To this day I don't know how Rachel, physically and emotionally, dealt with it," he said.
"She stayed there the whole night knowing she was still going to have to give birth naturally to our baby who hadn't made it. And for her to do that. . . it's the most respect I'll ever have for anyone.
"To have to do that, and the way she dealt with it, was unbelievable and made me have an unconditional love for her."
Arter also says he was overwhelmed by the support he received, particularly from the Irish team and management.
"I was so overwhelmed with the amount of support I got from people I know would care but I wouldn't expect to make a call," he says.
"Martin O'Neill called me, Roy Keane was with him and sent his best wishes. People I play with for Ireland that I'm not close to at all were texting me.
"There were people from all across the world sending me messages - I must have received over 3,000 across that Saturday, Sunday and Monday. I swear I read every single one and Rachel probably read most of them as well."
After his brave display against United, Arter admits he did not feel "mentally right" for his next match against West Brom. That, he says, was a massive wake-up call.
"Every single game now I go out - and this is the truth - to play for her," he said.
"I think I need to do her proud and play as well as I physically can, so that, if she's watching, she'll be happy."