James Maddison takes off shirt to reveal tribute to Norwich's tragic Sophie Taylor after scoring for Leicester City
PUBLISHED: 17:12 16 March 2019 | UPDATED: 10:42 17 March 2019
Former Norwich City player James Maddison revealed a t-shirt paying tribute to city girl Sophie Taylor after scoring in Leicester's match against Burnley today.
Maddison removed his shirt after scoring for his new team to reveal a t-shirt reading “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 England 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.”
Last week Sophie’s parents posted on a Facebook page which followed their daughter’s journey about Maddison.
Speaking as Sophie they said: “My best friend @madders has been brilliant for me and my family.
“When I relapsed he didn’t hesitate to come and see me at Addenbrooke’s. He also came to hospice to see me too.
“Since my passing he has looked out for Mummy, Daddy, Evie and Connor as well as grieving himself.
“At my send off he did a really lovely speech in my funeral service and joined my family and friends for my wake.
“My best friend is a great footballer but I like him more because he is a great person and I always wanted to spend time with him and have a kickabout.
“I know he misses me just like all my relatives and friends. But I know he was there for me when I needed him and I am grateful for that.”
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 and Sophie were so close that the midfielder was a pallbearer and gave a reading at her funeral at St Faith’s Crematorium on February 13.
Alex Taylor, Sophie’s father, previously said: “His friendship with Sophie was like family. They just had that mutual love for one another. His eyes lit up when he saw Sophie and how happy she was. She was always just so buoyant around him.
“She was naturally talented at football and she just loved kicking a ball with James.”
• Sophie’s family are fundraising to help other families in her memory. To donate, click here.