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Butcher tribute to former Ipswich and England teammate Mariner

Terry Butcher has paid tribute to former Ipswich and England teammate Paul Mariner.

Mariner passed away on Saturday.

“As well as being one of the very best I played with, Paul was the one who introduced me to heavy metal music," said Butcher.

“Whenever one of the quality acts was in town, he would get tickets and arrange backstage passes for us to meet the stars.

“He was a big fan of Iron Maiden, Deep Purple and bands like that. He was the life and soul of the party and he knew his stuff. But what a player, what a fantastic team-mate to have on your side."

Butcher, who captained England in the World Cup semi-final against Germany 31 years ago, believes Mariner's attributes as a striker with the “full set of clubs" would have been ideal on an occasion requiring stout hearts and technical affluence.

He said: “You know, he would have been perfect for the final this weekend, absolutely perfect. He would have relished the occasion and the chance to ruffle feathers.

“Paul would have given Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci all the trouble they could handle.

“He was a proper, old-fashioned centre-forward who would have prospered in the modern game, no question.

“To me, he was a blend of Harry Kane, Marco van Basten and Ruud van Nistelrooy rolled into one – the full set of clubs.

“He was hard, he was brave, he was sharp... but above all, he was a proper team player, a great character, someone who would take you under his wing and look out for you.

“Some people say the Ipswich team we played in was one of the best never to win the title after Aston Villa pipped us as champions in 1981, and he was an integral part of that side.

“But we could not have enjoyed the success we did without Paul's contribution. He was integral to the way Ipswich played, and a terrific England striker in his own right, because he was so powerful and effective.

“When you think of the forwards we had at our disposal in the late 1970s and early 1980s, we had no shortage of skill or guile – Kevin Keegan, Trevor Francis, Tony Woodcock among others – but Paul was someone who would win the ball for you in the air, too.

“He wasn't the tallest, but he could leap like a salmon and he was head and shoulders above everyone for his strength.

“The timing of his loss is especially poignant, and the best way to honour his memory is pretty obvious."

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