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Robbie McDaid can handle heat of Big Two switch, insists Linfield legend Andy Waterworth

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Robbie McDaid poses in his new Linfield shirt at Windsor Park

Robbie McDaid poses in his new Linfield shirt at Windsor Park

Robbie McDaid poses in his new Linfield shirt at Windsor Park

Linfield legend Andy Waterworth has backed Robbie McDaid to shut up the haters after the striker completed his move from Big Two rivals Glentoran yesterday.

Waterworth became a target for Glens fans angry at the striker’s switch to Windsor Park back in 2013.

The then 27-year-old frontman had just scored a brace in the 3-1 Irish Cup Final victory over Cliftonville but he opted to join Glentoran’s bitter rivals in a two-year deal.

The former Hamilton and Lisburn Distillery forward had scored 25 goals for Glentoran that season but he was encouraged to join the Blues by manager David Jeffrey.

McDaid, who also scored winning goals in an Irish Cup Final for the Glens, has crossed the Big Two divide, agreeing a two-year deal with David Healy’s champions from July 1.

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Andy Waterworth playing for Glentoran in 2013

Andy Waterworth playing for Glentoran in 2013

Andy Waterworth playing for Glentoran in 2013

Fans of the east Belfast giants are now looking forward to dishing out stick to the striker in the next derby fixture but Waterworth, who is now head of the Irish FA JD Academy, says McDaid can handle the heat.

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“I know when you join your rivals you will get stick but I always felt I got more than other players,” said Waterworth

“Glentoran, at the time, had told me to move on as the club was in financial difficulty and there was no contract for me. I moved on, signed for their rivals and although I expected stick it wasn’t a case of me walking out on the club. Eddie Patterson told me at Cooke Rugby Club there was no contract for me.

“But I knew the risks involved. When I spoke to David Jeffrey and understood the size of the club I knew it’s where I wanted to play my football.

“I expect Robbie to do really well. I think you have to have that desire in your stomach and he must have that.

“I’ve done it myself, I know the feeling and he’s like me, he’s quick, scores goals in big games and likes to run in behind.

“The one thing I learned from the Linfield managers I played for like David Jeffrey, Warren Feeney and Davud Healy is you have to work hard for the team, you have to roll your sleeves up because there’s a demand to win trophies and the club can’t carry anyone. Robbie has all the ingredients, the passion and desire to do well and David knows his strikers so he will get the best out of him.”

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Andy Waterworth has announced his retirement from the game

Andy Waterworth has announced his retirement from the game

Andy Waterworth has announced his retirement from the game

Linfield boss Healy confirmed McDaid’s Windsor Park arrival yesterday and photographs were released of the striker in his new attire. Northern Ireland’s record goalscorer is looking forward to polishing the shooting skills of the Omagh man.

“He’s a quality player and one I’ve admired greatly for some time and I’m really looking forward to starting to work with him in the very near future,” said Healy.

“He knows our league well, so he is well aware of the demands, expectations and challenges that lie ahead.

“Robbie will be a great addition to our squad and I know that our supporters will be looking forward to seeing him in action over the coming weeks and months.

“Robbie has agreed a two year contract with the club and as well as thanking the board for their backing with this signing, I also want to place on record our appreciation to Neil Saxton of Catalyst 4 professional sports management for their assistance with concluding this deal.”

Former Glentoran and Linfield hero Waterworth was speaking at yesterday’s celebration of players event for the Irish FA JD Academy in collaboration with UEFA. Players who represented Northern Ireland in the Victory Shield back in the spring were recognised along with the latest graduates from the academy programme.

“It was a day to thank everyone,” said Waterworth who is expected to leave Glenavon this summer. When you see the Brodie Spencers, Dale Taylors and Ethan Galbraiths progress to the senior Northern Ireland squad it is very important to us and for such a small country we need a pathway and plan that works.

“We have a residential academy for emerging talent and a Victory Shield side which the players appreciate. The boys know there are different routes to a professional game. It’s our unique pathway and we say that resilience is important and you must put everything into your game.

“We educate the players as much as we can and the players that work the hardest and want it the most are successful. Northern Ireland people are humble but we want the boys to understand they are as good as their counterparts and it can be an easier transition for them into the full-time game.”


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