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Every manager in the country wanted Ryan McBride but his roots were in Derry

“He was everything good about the game.”

Ryan McBride celebrates after the game Derry City captain Ryan McBride, who died on Sunday. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

CORK CITY MANAGER John Caulfield has paid tribute to the late Ryan McBride, stating that he’d have jumped at the chance to add the Derry City defender to his squad.

McBride died suddenly on Sunday at the age of just 27, having captained Derry to a 4-0 home win over Drogheda United in the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division on Saturday evening.

Speaking today ahead of his side’s meeting with champions Dundalk at Turner’s Cross this Saturday afternoon, Caulfield said that McBride would have improved any team in the league. However, there was only one club for the Derry native.

“I think he was a player that every manager in this league would want. But, to be fair, he was born in the Brandywell and he’s a Derry lad, no different than probably the likes of Nults [Mark McNulty] and Benno [Alan Bennett] down here,” Caulfield said.

“While a lot of people would want them, you couldn’t see them going up the country and playing with someone else. But if I thought I could get him down here, I’d gladly have taken him. But his roots were there and that’s where he always wanted to play, and fair play to him.”

Since taking charge of Cork City in 2014, Caulfield came up against McBride on 10 occasions. The imposing central defender scored the opener in the 2015 FAI Cup quarter-final between the clubs, heading in Patrick McEleney’s corner in a 1-1 draw, before Cork City went on to prevail in the replay.

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John Caulfield dejected in the closing stages of the game Cork City manager John Caulfield. Source: Gary Carr/INPHO

“He was everything good about the game. He was just a really hard centre-back, really tough, and in the modern era when you have a lot of people who are funking and faking and diving all over the place, he was strong and aggressive — everything that any manager would want in a centre-back,” said Caulfield.

“He was very strong in the air, attacked the ball brilliantly and got a lot of goals from set-pieces. He would have been the key guy that we’d always identify for the Derry set-pieces. Overall he had massive leadership and he was a very good footballer.

“People could see that there was no nonsense, no messing, and he was the type of guy that everyone would want in their team. I suppose that’s the highest compliment you can pay him. Every team in this country would want him in their team and there’s not many players you’d say that about.”

Caulfield added: “We’re all stone mad about football and we think it means everything, but there are a lot of bigger things out there. I suppose the older you get you realise that. When you see his age and everything, it’s just a tragedy.”

Watch: Soccer Republic’s touching tribute to Ryan McBride

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Paul Dollery

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