James McClean: McGuinness 'a hero of mine'

James McClean with Martin McGuinness
James McClean with Martin McGuinness

Irish soccer international James McClean has paid tribute to Martin McGuinness on social media.

In a post on his Instagram page, the West Brom winger spoke of the support he received from McGuinness during 'well documented tough times off the field'.

The former Derry City star wrote: "Writing this with a heavy heart. Bad week just getting worse, woke to the passing off Martin just now, am not going to shy away in expressing either how I feel, not only was he a hero of mine, someone I looked up to; a man that has done so much for Irish people and Irish people's freedom.

"Right to the very end, he was also a good friend and someone I had the pleasure of having a good relationship with. A man I met so many times, had the privilege to share many a great conversation with, a man that always texted me before games wishing me luck, a man that through the well documented tough times off the field always let me know how brave I was standing by my beliefs ... that I never was alone because I had his support and backing always. You will be sorely missed, Martin: a great leader, a great hero and above all a great man.

"Thinking on all your loved ones.. beannacht agus buíochas a ghabháil leat mo chara."