The Poacher's Instinct of David Healy and the Vision of Neil Lennon .. He Really Was That Good; XCLUSIVE: HOW EOGHAN QUIGG COULD HAVE BEEN A PROFESSIONAL SOCCER STAR

The Mirror (London, England), December 6, 2008 | Go to article overview

The Poacher's Instinct of David Healy and the Vision of Neil Lennon .. He Really Was That Good; XCLUSIVE: HOW EOGHAN QUIGG COULD HAVE BEEN A PROFESSIONAL SOCCER STAR


Byline: BY JONNY STONES

IT'S a shame Eoghan Quigg's vocal talent is so unique, because we might have witnessed his silky skills in soccer were it not for his show-stopping voice.

The versatile singer, who has proved his future lies on stage with faultless performances on the X Factor week after week, also had all the attributes to make it as a professional soccer player.

And his former coach Don Clarke claimed should the young heartthrob go out of the competition tonight he could still fall back on a career in professional soccer.

Clarke, who coached the schoolboy when the he was just eight, has revealed how "Eoghan could have made it pro" if he had followed his love of soccer instead of his passion for singing.

And the highly-qualified coach, who has honed the talents of several Premiership players likened Eoghan to Manchester United star Wayne Rooney as well as other household names in soccer.

He said: "His instinct for finding the goal was natural and he could score from anywhere.

"When we went to Scotland and played in a tournament against under-12s from Dundee, Dundee Utd and Stockport County he scored in every single game of the competition. He was only 10 and the youngest player on the pitch.

"He could do a lot of things with the ball other 10-year-olds found impossible. He read the game exceptionally well and fitted into a team ethic with little problem.

"He progressed very quickly and was one of the best players we had on the scheme at that time.

"His knowledge of the game was as cute as the older players and while he was the youngest in the under-12s team he was still the main goalscorer for us then.

"If we had to compare him to a modern player there would be a few who would be similar. His work rate was as good as Wayne Rooney's and he could play in the hole.

"He was as talented as any striker I've seen play. He had the poacher's instinct of an Andy Johnson or David Healy and the passing ability and vision to make him a midfield general like Neil Lennon.

"His ability to create chances for other players was also second to none. He really was that good."

Clarke, who has coached at Derry's Maiden City Soccer programme since 1998, said: "In the dressing room he had a great influence on the other team members. His attitude was always positive and he was a very happy boy who was well liked.

"Eoghan was a regular attendant and quickly showed he had a lot of skill. His dedication was second to none too."

The cross-community scheme which visits schools here and in the North was started by former Nottingham Forest player Paul Kee in 1990.

The programme spotted young Quiggy, as Clarke still refers to him, when he was just eight years old and playing in the grounds of his St Canice's Primary School in his home town of Dungiven, Co Derry.

Clarke, 47, admitted: "He came on very quickly with training. Normally we don't invite players into the academy until they are 11 or 12-years-old.

"But Eoghan had a definite talent at a very young age and we took him on the academy's books a couple of years earlier because of that.

"Unfortunately for us, he moved towards singing when he was 14 and so there were no trials for big clubs, but they would have come for him if he had of stayed. …

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