Republic of Ireland manager Martin O’Neill has sent his support to ex-Sunderland star Liam Miller amid reports he is battling pancreatic cancer.
The 36-year-old midfielder is said to be undergoing treatment and news of his plight has been greeted with shock by acquaintances within football.
Speaking at his pre-match press conference ahead of Ireland’s World Cup play-off second-leg clash with Denmark, the former Black Cats boss said: “I gave Liam his debut at Celtic. He played wonderfully well in a Champions League game one evening, he was absolutely outstanding.
“The news – we heard about it just recently, we didn’t know how bad it was – and obviously all thoughts go out to him and his family. I think he’s got three children as well.
“He’s a very young man, 36 years of age. It puts things in perspective.”
There was support too from another ex-Sunderland player, fellow Corkman David Meyler, who said Miller is in the thoughts of the squad.
Meyler said: “We’ve obviously heard the news. We’re unsure of all the details, but our thoughts go to his family. We are thinking of him and we hope he can pull through and he’s strong anyway.
“That’s from the whole team and everyone.”
Miller was signed by Roy Keane in 2006 and helped the club out of the Championship, making 60 appearances in total before moving to QPR in 2009. He also played for Manchester United, Hibernian, Australian clubs Perth Glory, Brisbane Roar and Melbourne City, home-town club Cork City and, most recently, Wilmington Hammerheads in America.