Belfast Telegraph

Gary Hamilton: Departing Glenavon star Rhys Marshall is the best I've played with in the Irish League

Rhys Marshall
Rhys Marshall

By Ian Callender

After his final game in a Glenavon shirt - a 2-0 Irish Cup loss to Coleraine - Rhys Marshall was the last player to leave the Mourneview Park pitch on Saturday, applauding the fans, who returned their appreciation.

Manager Gary Hamilton named him as "the best player I ever played with", and considering the players the former Northern Ireland international has been involved with during his time in the Irish League, that is some tribute to the versatile 24-year-old who has signed for Shamrock Rovers.

"I can't say a bad word about Rhys Marshall," said Hamilton.

"I was thinking the other day about the bad games he has played for the football club and in all my time here, six or seven years, I could think of no more than two or three.

"All the others I couldn't remember a game where he was even average to poor, and that is the mark of a top, top player.

"He is the best player I have ever played with and the best player I have worked with over here - and that goes back to my days with Glentoran and Portadown, that's the highest thing I can say about him.

"He's a great kid; at the start he was an introvert, hard to get to know, but over time he has opened up, started to talk more in the changing room and now he's one of the more important people in there. It's great to see how he has developed.

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"He owes us nothing, he has been here since he was 15, he has the opportunity to go to a full-time club in Shamrock Rovers, probably the biggest club in Ireland in my opinion, and prove that he can be a good player there, and probably improve with full-time football.

"I find it hard to believe that Rhys could get any better, but there is that potential and he will be a good signing for them."

Hamilton has only one concern for the full-back/midfielder who celebrates his 25th birthday next week.

"I just hope he settles because he has always been a home boy, and that's the only thing that will prevent him being a huge success," added Hamilton.

"But we think the world of him and he will always be welcome back. As a Glenavon supporter, I'd love to see him back to pull the shirt on again."

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