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'He was the fittest of the fittest, and the bravest of the brave'

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Since Liam Miller's untimely death on Friday night, tributes have been pouring in from the football family.

The former Republic of Ireland international lost his short battle with cancer at the age of 36.

Among the many former teammates and managers to speak fondly of Miller is Brian Kerr, who gave the Corkman his international debut in 2004, shortly after Miller's move from Celtic to Manchester United.

Kerr was on commentary duty for Premier League Live with Sky Sports yesterday, joining Philip Egan live at Wembley to speak about a player he had known for almost 20 years.

"I had the good fortune to see him as a 16 year old, just before he went to Celtic. I had just started in the job with the underage international teams, my first match we played France up in Tolka Rovers’ ground. We lost 2-1 and we had Liam in the team, and I knew from then I was dealing with someone who had something special about him. He was a small little lad in the middle of the field with good passing ability and great energy, but he also had determination and grace about him that meant you wanted to have him in your squad," he said.

"He was quiet, he was shy, but on the pitch he was tidy, he was aggressive, he was courageous, he was brave, he was all the things that you want from a player."

Miller's battle with pancreatic cancer became known to the public in November, when he returned to Cork from America, where he had been coaching.

Kerr says he had been speaking to friends Miller in recent weeks, and had been receiving positive updates, before his condition took a sudden turn in recent days.

"It’s just awful. They’ve had to look at Liam and mind him and care for him over the last few months since he came back from America, knowing he probably hadn’t a very good long term future.

"It’s still absolutely devastating news that he’s passed away, actually quite suddenly in the end. I mean, I know from speaking to people he was out and about. He celebrated his daughter’s birthday in a restaurant last Saturday, and he was out for a meal with Graham Barrett earlier in the week, but he just deteriorated sadly on Thursday and passed away last night." 


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