Ex-Sunderland striker opens up on the vital role Niall Quinn played in his development
Kevin Kyle has revealed the important role that Sunderland legend Niall Quinn played in his development.
Speaking to Open Goal on YouTube, Kyle spoke about the lengths Quinn went to in order to help the young striker - who had been earmarked as the Irishman's long-term replacement.
That meant some early mornings at the Academy of Light for the duo, with Kyle eager to learn from Sunderland's star striker after feeling he was failing to live up to expectations when training with the first team.
“I started training with the first team and my touch was s****," he admitted.
"I asked Niall Quinn for advice on how to get better.
“He says: ‘Right, come in at 8am every morning and we’ll work on it. So we used to come in at eight every morning and play head tennis in a little box. We did that everyday until my touch got better.
“So then I said I’m not as good as you at heading. So we moved to work on my heading, and then we’d move on to something else and we just worked on absolutely everything."
Kyle was full of praise for Quinn, whom he described as the 'ultimate nice guy' following his efforts to make several of the club's younger players welcome on Wearside.
Although there were some question marks over the former Arsenal striker's clothing choices.
“I remember a lot of the young Irish boys really struggled with homesickness as well as me, and Quinny took us all over to his house for two days over the weekend," he added.
"It was Sedgefield and he had these big stables with horses and everything. He said to us this is what we could have if we stick at it.
“He really was the ultimate nice guy. I think everybody else says the same about him, but honestly, he just looked after everyone. But at the same time he was an unbelievable footballer as well.
“Everyone would rip the p*** out of him because his wife bought all his clothes out of Next. When we’d go away on end of season holidays we used to all chip in Â£20 each to get Quinny a decent outfit for the trip!
“He was the ultimate gentleman though. Absolutely fantastic bloke.”