Hucks doesn't plan to stay on in football

CHRIS LAKEY Darren Huckerby says he is preparing to make a clean break from football when his career finally comes to an end. The Canaries winger - voted Eastern Daily Press Norwich City Player of the Season - has at least one season to go before he hangs up his boots, but says he's unlikely to pop up on a touchline with a clipboard in his hand.

CHRIS LAKEY

Darren Huckerby says he is preparing to make a clean break from football when his career finally comes to an end.

The Canaries winger - voted Eastern Daily Press Norwich City Player of the Season - has at least one season to go before he hangs up his boots, but says he's unlikely to pop up on a touchline with a clipboard in his hand.

“I don't know if it going to be me further down the line,” said Huckerby midway through a one-day soccer school in his name organised by Football in the Community on Saturday.


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“I have always said that when I have finished I will always be finished and not involved with coaching, but you never know - we'll see what Granty says - maybe he can get me on the staff!”

Huckerby was in demand as he put children aged from four to 13 through their paces at Heartsease High School - but says the hard work is nothing new for footballers.

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“Some of the lads who have been injured have been training every day,” he said. “People say it is like an off season, but the lads probably work just as hard - I personally work harder because it is the off season and you probably eat the wrong things and drink the wrong things, so it is important you keep on top of your training.

“In the lower leagues when I used to play there, people used to come back a stone and a half overweight. I have been very lucky, I tend to train every day whatever and I have never really felt the consequences of a tough season.”

Huckerby was the star of the show at the weekend and earned praise from FITC director Ian Thornton.

“We are very fortunate with Darren,” he said. “He is an excellent role model both on and off the pitch, you see him round the training ground and he conducts himself in a very professional manner, and to give up his own time to work with the children proves his commitment not just to the club but also to the community

“The kids love it and having a player involved is absolutely fantastic. I have read a lot of stuff about people asking if he is a legend is he in that class: if you watch him with the kids you have your answer.”

Huckerby's status among fans was confirmed with his second Barry Butler Memorial Trophy award as player of the season as well as a host of others from supporters' organisation - and the EDP.

The striker finished narrowly ahead of Dion Dublin, with Jason Shackell in third place after the scores from all the Championship games covered by Chris Lakey, Paddy Davitt and Jonathan Redhead this season were totted up.

What swung it for the flying striker was the post-January run, when Huckerby's season really came to life.

Having scored twice at Tamworth in the FA Cup, Huckerby put in a string of quality performances to ensure City kept away from the relegation zone.

Dublin's influence was felt in attack and defence, where he has undoubtedly helped Shackell mature into a quality central defender.

Dickson Etuhu takes fourth place, after a long hard season in the City engine room, while rising star Chris Martin features in the top 10 after his stunning introduction to Championship football at the end of January.

Marks were for Championship games only - and the minimum requirement was 10 league starts.

PLAYERS ASSESSMENTS

Darren Huckerby 6.75

Dion Dublin 6.68

Jason Shackell 6.55

Dickson Etuhu 6.48

Lee Croft 6.41

Chris Martin 6.35

Robert Earnshaw 6.33

Gary Doherty 6.32

Adam Drury 6.31

Tony Warner 6.30

Simon Lappin 6.28

Paul Gallacher 6.18

Youssef Safri 6.03

Carl Robinson 6.03

Jurgen Colin 6.03

Andy Hughes 6.00

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