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Former United managers remember Tioté

Written by Rory Mitchinson

Former United managers Steve McClaren, Chris Hughton and Alan Pardew have all paid tribute to Cheick Tioté following the popular midfielder’s tragic death.

Tioté, 30, collapsed while training with his current club, Beijing Enterprises, and sadly passed away after being taken to hospital.

The Ivorian – capped more than 50 times by his country – spent six and a half years at Newcastle after moving from Dutch side FC Twente in 2010.

There, he was managed by McClaren, and helped the Tukkers to the Eredivisie title before leaving for St. James’ Park.

McClaren, who spent much of the 2015/16 campaign in charge of United, told BBC 5 live: “I knew him first as a young player at Twente. He was the toughest player I've ever seen.

“On the field and in training he was such a competitor. He wanted to win every game, kick every player and win every tackle.

“Some days we would have to pull him out of training because he was such a ferocious competitor, such a winner. He was a warrior and he could play, too.

“It was his dream to play in China and I was so delighted for him when it happened. He earned money to look after his family.

“At Newcastle, if (Papiss) Cisse and Cheick were smiling, I knew the world was OK.

“He was the kind of player that everyone wants in their team.”

Tioté linked up with United during Hughton’s time in the dugout. Newcastle were gearing up for their return to the Premier League after a season in the Championship, with Tioté himself having just caught the eye for the Elephants at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

Hughton, also speaking to 5 live, said: “For what we wanted at the time he was the perfect fit – the perfect and essential midfield player.

“He was a good player, a good passer but he was going to do the ugly part of the game – being competitive in the middle of the park, winning the ball and allowing the players around him to have an effect on the game.

“The thing that struck me was how humble he was. It was such a big thing for him to sign for Newcastle.

“I remember speaking to Steve McClaren before we took him and Steve spoke very, very fondly about him – not only as a footballer but as a person and a person that wouldn't let you down.”

The bulk of Tioté’s time on Tyneside was spent under the stewardship of Pardew, who replaced Hughton midway through the Magpies’ first season back in the Premier League.

Tioté was a regular as United finished fifth in the 2011/12 campaign, and also starred during their run to the last eight of the Europa League the following year.

Pardew said: “From the moment I arrived at Newcastle, Cheick was a wonderful presence around the dressing room and his performances on the field often defied belief.

“There were days when he must have covered every blade of grass on a football field and it didn’t surprise me that clubs like Manchester United were being linked with attempts to sign him.

“None of us will ever forget that incredible day when our Newcastle team came from 4-0 down to draw an unbelievable game against Arsenal, with Cheick’s incredible goal in the final moments of that game one of the iconic moments in Premier League history.

“I loved him. He’s everything that you want in a Newcastle player. He has the quality, and of course you’ll never underestimate the fact that he wants to win.

“I just loved that he’s a winner. It can overcome so many obstacles as a footballer. Young players could take a big leaf out of his book in terms of how he approaches training and games, and he was a special young man.

“To hear the news that he has passed away at the age of 30 breaks my heart and my sympathies go out to all of his family and friends, who will be devastated by this news.”

"At Newcastle, if (Papiss) Cisse and Cheick were smiling, I knew the world was OK."

Steve McClaren

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