Sheffield United defender John Egan pays emotional tribute to 'superstar' late father, Kerry legend John Sr.

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Sheffield United defender John Egan has paid an emotional tribute to his late father, describing him as a “superstar in his era in Gaelic football” but also always retaining the humility to speak to people in the street.

Egan could win his latest Republic of Ireland cap tonight against Norway at the Aviva Stadium – although many at United are hoping he isn’t risked against Norway or in Sunday’s clash in Malta – and ahead of the game, spoke to Irish channel OTB about his father, John Snr., a Kerry legend who won six all-Ireland titles and was named in the All Stars five times.

“My dad had great belief in me, so everything he said to me was always positive,” said Egan, who moved to England to join Sunderland’s academy before spells at Brentford and then Bramall Lane. “He said to me: ‘Believe in yourself. I believe in you. If I didn’t, I’d tell you not to go.’ He told me to go over there, work as hard as you can and I believe you’ll do well. And that made me believe in myself.

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He used to ring me and the buddies to a place we call ‘The Farm’, a training ground near where Cork City train in Bishopstown. He’d bring footballs, soccer balls, tennis rackets, golf clubs … we’d go there for the day and he was kind of our coach.

“I’d describe him as very intelligent, witty - he loved a joke - and supremely talented. And a good guy as well. He’d warm to anyone. A lot of my friends had really close relationships and now I’m older, I look back at the relationships he had with all of my friends.

“I meet people on the street and they tell me stories about him. He’d talk to anyone. He was obviously a superstar in his era in Gaelic football but growing up, I’d see him chatting to different people and he always made time for everyone.”

John Egan of Sheffield United: Darren Staples / SportimageJohn Egan of Sheffield United: Darren Staples / Sportimage
John Egan of Sheffield United: Darren Staples / Sportimage

If Egan plays he could once again be handed the captain’s armband by boss Stephen Kenny but won’t have the headache of having to face Erling Haaland, with the Manchester City star not risked after a recent spell on the sidelines through injury.

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