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James Maddison defends referee's yellow card after taking shirt off in tribute to Norwich's Sophie Taylor

PUBLISHED: 11:51 17 March 2019 | UPDATED: 11:24 18 March 2019

Leicester City's James Maddison celebrates scoring his side's first goal of the game and reveals a t-shirt that reads 'RIP Sophie I Love You' before being booked by match referee Michael Oliver (left) for removing his shirt during the Premier League match at Turf Moor, Burnley. Photo: Martin Rickett/PA Wire.

Leicester City's James Maddison celebrates scoring his side's first goal of the game and reveals a t-shirt that reads 'RIP Sophie I Love You' before being booked by match referee Michael Oliver (left) for removing his shirt during the Premier League match at Turf Moor, Burnley. Photo: Martin Rickett/PA Wire.

PA Wire

Former Norwich City player James Maddison has defended the decision of the referee to give him a yellow card during Leicester's match against Burnley.

Leicester City's James Maddison celebrates scoring his side's first goal of the game and reveals a t-shirt that reads 'RIP Sophie I Love You' before being booked by match referee Michael Oliver (left) for removing his shirt during the Premier League match at Turf Moor, Burnley. Photo: Martin Rickett/PA Wire.Leicester City's James Maddison celebrates scoring his side's first goal of the game and reveals a t-shirt that reads 'RIP Sophie I Love You' before being booked by match referee Michael Oliver (left) for removing his shirt during the Premier League match at Turf Moor, Burnley. Photo: Martin Rickett/PA Wire.

Former Norwich City player James Maddison has defended the decision of the referee to give him a yellow card during Leicester’s match against Burnley.

It comes after the attacking midfielder removed his shirt after scoring for his team in Saturday’s match and revealed a t-shirt paying tribute to city girl Sophie Taylor.

The t-shirt read “RIP Sophie I love you” underneath.

Maddison became five-year-old Sophie’s “best friend” as she battled cancer and was left heartbroken by her death in January .

Maddison first struck up a friendship with Sophie after she was a mascot for Norwich City and the player has kept in touch with the family.

He visited the Sprowston youngster in a hospice in her final days and after her death posted the pictures to thousands of followers on Instagram and Twitter with a message saying “Rest In Peace my little Angel. I love you always & forever.”

Following Saturday’s heartfelt tribute to the youngster, Maddison was shown a yellow card for removing his shirt, as per Fifa rules, but referee Michael Oliver then gave him a pat on the back afterwards.

Maddison later took to Twitter to defend Oliver. He posted: “Regarding tweets about 
Michael Oliver, he’s just doing his job and didn’t have a choice. He didn’t enjoy showing me a yellow and shared his condolences about the passing of Sophie which I thought was very respectful.”

James Maddison carries Sophie Taylor on Saturday, April 7. Photo: Jasonpix/NCFCJames Maddison carries Sophie Taylor on Saturday, April 7. Photo: Jasonpix/NCFC

Maddison was also a pallbearer at Sophie’s funeral and gave a reading at St Faith’s Crematorium on February 13.

Sophie’s family are fundraising to help other families in her memory.

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