Martyn Waghorn admits honour at watching and learning from former Sunderland hero Kevin Phillips

Kevin Phillips

The Rangers striker used to watch the Sunderland star at the Stadium of Light and was briefly at Leicester whilst Phillips was coaching.

Rangers striker Martyn Waghorn has told the Scottish Sun that he owes a great deal to watching former Sunderland striker Kevin Phillips play as a boy, and from learning from him during his time at Leicester.

The Gers man joined the Black Cats at the age of eight and spent his very early days at the club serving as a ballboy during first-team home games at the Stadium of Light.

There he got to witness firsthand the devastating partnership of Phillips and Niall Quinn which yielded 194 goals in six years, including Phillips' 30-goal Golden Boot-winning season in 1999-2000.

Though the young Waghorn could not fully appreciate the remarkable achievements of the pair, the 26-year-old said that it was during his time at Leicester, when Phillips was a striker coach, that he learned from the veteran goalscorer.

Waghorn, who himself netted 28 goals in 36 appearances for Rangers this season, told the Scottish Sun: "For Phillips to score 30 goals for Sunderland in the Premier League was remarkable.

"I was lucky Phillips came to Leicester for a few months just before I left. He was strikers’ coach for a bit and he still had it at 40. You could see the quality he had, his movement in training. He was so clever and it was then I could really understand and appreciate how good he was. I never told him I used to be a ballboy when he played, though.

"I think I was honestly starstruck by him from the moment he walked through the door! He was massive for me back then, watching him every week. So I was more overwhelmed with him being there."

Phillips spent five months as a player-coach at Leicester in 2014 before retiring from playing, at a time when Waghorn was a peripheral figure before being shipped out to Wigan Athletic.

Meanwhile, Waghorn's first campaign at Ibrox was cut short by injury in February, although he did return in May and started yesterday's Scottish Cup final defeat to Hibernian.

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