Former Scotland international Nigel Quashie has shared a touching story about his former Queens Park Rangers boss Ray Wilkins, who died yesterday at the age of 61.
Quashie, who began his career as a trainee with QPR, was handed his debut in a 2-1 league defeat to Manchester united at Old Trafford in December 1995.
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Writing on his Instagram page underneath a photo of Wilkins in a QPR strip, Quashie said: “I will always be proud to say how lucky I am to have been coached, managed and even met you.
“If it wasn’t for you, I would never have started my career playing football and I will never forget going to Manchester United as a YTS trainee to do all the kit and boots in the changing room for the first team squad.
“An hour and 30 minutes before kick-off you named the team, and I was in it, and that’s how my debut went. I didn’t even get to think about it because all you said was, ‘you’re number 18, here are your boots and shin pads, just go and play, have fun and treat it like you’re over the park with your mates’.
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“My mum never had a mobile phone back then because we couldn’t afford anything like that, everything went through her work or home phone.
“I asked you after the game if I could call home to speak to her, you said ‘use my mobile and call this number’, it was my mum on the other end of the line and she said she was outside by the away team bus.
“I went outside to see her and asked ‘how did you get here?’ because I knew she couldn’t afford it. She told me Ray had got the club to pay for her train ticket to come to the game and give us our first mobile phone during the week.
“He wanted to surprise me, knowing I was making my debut. I was given a chance by Ray Wilkins, one of the legends of the game and to this day, you are the first person I mention when it comes to football and that will never change. “You will be missed so much not just in the football world but as a real human being with such class. Thanks for everything and my thoughts go to all the family. Sleep well Sir Ray Wilkins.”
Quashie made 35 appearances for the Loftus Road side, scoring three goals and returned to the club in a brief loan spell in the 2009/10 season. He was capped 14 times by Scotland, scoring once in a 4-1 win over Trinidad & Tobago.
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