Emotional Daniel Farke pays glowing tribute to Leeds United legend Stuart Dallas

Stuart Dallas
Stuart Dallas -Credit:Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images

Leeds United manager Daniel Farke has paid a glowing tribute to Stuart Dallas after the news the versatile Northern Irishman has called time on his playing career.

Farke was never able to use Dallas in a playing capacity after what turned out to be a career-ending injury picked up against Manchester City. However, the German says his experience behind the scenes has been vital in his side's Championship promotion push, as he paid tribute to Dallas.

"We had shock news this week with the retirement announcement of Stuart and I want to take this opportunity to pay tribute and say thanks to Stuart," he said ahead of Saturday's game with Blackburn. "He is an integral part of our group and it was quite emotional for all of us in the last few days.

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"He had some setbacks with his rehab in the last few weeks. Once he announced it, it was quite emotional. I am a bit sad that I wasn't allowed to send Stuart onto the pitch. I was really looking forward to working with him because I knew what a fantastic player Stuart was. I was always respectful when I played against him and I would have loved to have sent him out in this shirt with his fan.

"I am really grateful and blessed to be one of the managers of Stuart. He was my player and will always be my player in my heart. I learned more about him as a human being. He's unbelievable how he interacts with the guys and he's still so important for our spirit and group.

"What he has done for this club is so much more than what I have done in the nine and half months I've been at the club. He's a legend of the club and deserves all the praise. He had led the club to the highest highs with promotion and a fantastic first season back in the Premier League. He is there for the boys right now and giving them recommendations. It says a lot about his character when he came to speak about his decision.

"Even right now, he's thinking more about the group and the club than himself. I want to say a really big thank you to him and to be able to work with him this year. Our hearts will always be open to him. He's a Leeds United legend. We still have him for a few more weeks and doors will always be open. Let's enjoy the next few weeks having him on site."

Leeds United host Blackburn Rovers in Saturday's early Championship kick, following Leicester City's game at Plymouth Argyle tonight. Second-placed Ipswich Town travel to Middlesbrough. And while Dallas is no longer in the playing set-up, Farke says he will continue to influence things behind the scenes.

"It's key to have him around," he added. "I would prefer to have him available for the games. To have his experience and personality around the dressing room calms the nerves down and helps motivate everyone.

"We have got some young lads so to have a proper Leeds legend there is always important. You need that energy and enthusiasm of youth and the experience of the more experienced players. Stuart is a top class character."