MORECAMBE boss Derek Adams has paid tribute to “positive” and “always smiling” Christian Mbulu.
London-born Mbulu only joined the League Two club from Crewe on a free in January.
And Adams told SunSport Mbulu’s death has left everyone at the Shrimps “shattered”.
He said: “Christian was a really nice young man and good around the dressing room.
“From the day he walked in, he was always smiling and positive. He wanted to improve and help us achieve as a squad.
“To lose his life at 23 is difficult to understand for all the players and staff, who became very close to him in a short space of time. He completely bought into the team spirit we have been building at the club.
“I was only speaking to Christian last week so for him to no longer be here is a huge shock and it has left everyone at the club shattered.”
Adams will today speak to all his grieving team-mates and offer help and assistance to those who need it.
He added: “All our first thoughts are with his family and close friends.
“Dealing with a team-mate’s death at that age is going to be difficult so it’s important to do the best I can in comforting them at this difficult time. We need to all stick together to get through this awful tragedy.”
A number of Morecambe players were too upset to speak yesterday.
But defender Steve Old said: “It was very shocking news to hear on Tuesday and I’m still in shock. He was so young.”
Mbulu started out at Brentwood Town in 2013 before joining Millwall at 19 after a trial. He was released in the summer of 2018 and joined Motherwell.
In October 2019 he signed a short-term contract with Crewe.
He had only just broken into the Morecambe side before the lockdown curtailed the season.
Crewe boss David Artell said: “He was always smiling. You could see he’d been brought up properly. His work ethic was terrific. It’s so sad.”