‘His memory drives me on’ – Leicester’s new £15m man Harry Souttar’s incredible tattoo in tribute to late brother
SOCCEROOS World Cup star Harry Souttar will square up to Marcus Rashford at Old Trafford today with the image of his late brother Aaron etched on his left arm.
And the memory of giving Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe a run for their money as a reminder that he belongs on the big stage.
Souttar may have been born in Aberdeen and raised in Luthermuir, near Brechin, where his dad Jack played professionally for Brechin City.
But when Australia came calling, the 24-year-old opted for the land of his mum Heather, who was born and raised in Western Australia.
It’s why he also proudly has a tattoo of the Australian crest with his official Socceroos number — international No 606 — inked on his calf.
But it is the image of his cherished brother Aaron, who sadly passed away following a brave battle with Motor Neurone Disease in July 2022, which spurred Souttar to new heights in Qatar.
The 6ft 6in stopper helped Australia make it to the last 16 before going down fighting 2-1 to Lionel Messi’s Argentina.
And ahead of today’s trip to the Theatre of Dreams, Leicester’s new £15million signing from Stoke revealed how having Aaron’s image on his arm inspires him.
Souttar said: “I had the tattoo done a month or two after his passing.
“It is just him golfing at St Andrews. He was a massive golfer, he was club captain at the local club in Brechin, near where we grew up.
“St Andrews was his favourite course. His memory drives me on massively since he passed.
“Before all the games at the World Cup my dad would just give me a text and say, ‘Aaron would be wanting three points or a win tonight’.
“Even before the Tottenham game last weekend he gave me a text just to say, ‘He’ll want a win on your home debut’.
“I’ve got the tattoo on my arm so that he’ll always be with me.
“He would have been so proud to have seen me play at a World Cup or at Old Trafford now.
“Before one of our games, the Aussie boss Graham Arnold did a great speech about who you are doing it for.
“It was pretty simple for me who I was doing it for.”
Aaron’s tragic death came during one of the toughest times in Souttar’s young career as the former Potters defender faced a year sidelined by injury after rupturing his cruciate ligament during a World Cup qualifier for the Aussies.
He revealed the horror moment he feared his World Cup dream was over.
Souttar said: “It happened in Sydney against Saudi Arabia. I went to block a shot, he feinted and moved, I tried to go again and it just gave way and popped.
“The physios wanted to see if it was stable and my kneecap was going halfway down my shin and halfway up my thigh, so I knew something was bad!”
That’s when Harry was able to turn to his other brother John for expert advice.
The 26-year-old Rangers and Scotland star has been plagued by a string of career-threatening injuries but somehow keeps battling back.
John’s career hung in the balance when he ruptured his Achilles — both his right, then left — keeping him out for six months at a time.
He also had to endure ankle and hip operations during his time with Dundee United and Hearts before suffering a THIRD Achilles injury.
John somehow managed to fight back from those setbacks and is now edging closer to full fitness with Rangers.
Souttar added: “John had a horrendous time. I’ve only gone through a small percentage of what he’s gone through, he’s one of the strongest people I’ve ever met mentally.
“My older brother passing during my injury made me and John a lot closer. He’s been a massive help to me.
“He said right at the start, ‘If you’re ever feeling down, just write your thoughts down. No need to share it with anyone — just write what you’re feeling and in a month’s time have a look’.
“Everyone is different but for me, that really worked.
“At the start everyone says there’s going to be down periods but I thought, ‘I’ll sail through it, I’ll be fine’.
“However, there were some challenging moments and he helped me a lot.
“It’s not something I would share with anyone. It was just private stuff I felt at that time and that I felt I needed to write down. It helped me.”
Souttar refused to flick through the pages of his inspirational ledger during the World Cup, after battling back to full fitness on the back of just one warm-up game. He added: “I didn’t bring that book out, purely because I wanted it to be in the past.
“It helped me through the months I was injured but, once I was back fit, I just wanted to look forward.
“When will I look at it? Well, touch wood I won’t get injured again!”
Souttar, who admits he’s had to cut down on his favourite snack of chicken nuggets now that he is a Premier League player, says facing up to Messi and Mbappe in Qatar has given him the confidence to face in-form Rashford.
But he did not try to swap shirts with either of his superstar opponents.
He explained: “If there was one player I would have wanted to swap with, then it would have been Messi.
“But, unfortunately, one of the other lads got to him first!
“He’s probably the greatest that has ever played the game.
“I watched loads of clips of him and I planned to do this and do that. But he’s just unstoppable!”
LEICESTER (likely): Ward, Castagne, Souttar, Faes, Kristiansen, Mendy, Maddison, Dewsbury-Hall, Tete, Iheanacho, Barnes.
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