McKenzie - 'It's been so hard for me'
Norwich City striker Leon McKenzie says handing in a transfer request was one of the hardest decisions of his life. The frontman has been very much a bit-part so far this season after being named as a substitute for the first three games.
Norwich City striker Leon McKenzie says handing in a transfer request was one of the hardest decisions of his life.
The frontman has been very much a bit-part so far this season after being named as a substitute for the first three games.
And McKenzie admits it was time he let his frustrations be known as he looks to safeguard his future in the long term.
“I'm 28 now and time is not on my side and I have to say to put in a request is one of the hardest decisions of my life,” said McKenzie, whose request was rejected out of hand by City boss Worthington who reassured the popular striker he remains a crucial element of his promotion plan.
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“I'm in the last 12 months of my contract and I need to be playing. I was putting out my marker. It's not a case of me spitting out my dummy. I need to be playing regularly. It's not a token gesture. I've let my frustrations be known.”
McKenzie has clearly become increasingly discouraged at his lack of first-team opportunities. The striker has been restricted to cameo appearances from the bench during the opening week of the Championship campaign - the latest of which was an 89th-minute substitution for Robert Earnshaw during City's thrilling 3-2 victory over Luton on Saturday.
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The big money arrivals of Earnshaw and Lee Croft, coupled with a change of formation to 4-3-3, have relegated McKenzie to a virtual spectator in Norwich's recent back-to-back home wins.
McKenzie, who has 12 months to run on his current contract, added: “This decision is not meant to disrespect the fans, the team or the club. It's a decision I have made for me and my family, my kids' future is the most important thing to me in the world. I need the security of a long term contract.
“I can't afford to waste half a season or wait around for people to be injured. That's no good to me I'm looking to the long term here.
“The lads have worked very hard in pre-season and I would say that it's probably the hardest I have ever been through. I feel like I am in the prime of my career and I need to be playing football.
“It's not a knee jerk reaction. I have talked about it with my family and close friends and my advisors and it's the right decision for me.”
McKenzie went on to reassure fans saying: “I am still a Norwich City player and I will continue to train and play hard, there's no question about that.”
Worthington's reluctance to release McKenzie is understandable after a summer spent hunting for attacking reinforcements, but it leaves the former Posh striker back at square one despite desperately wanting away.
McKenzie, whose last season was disrupted by injury and personal problems off the field, also warned that any player coming in would have to be content with warming the bench for large periods of the season.
“My position hasn't changed,” he said. “The club is still looking for a target man but what that player would have to be prepared to do is sit on the bench. They would not be playing all the time.
“It's been hard for me. I want to be out there working for the team and scoring goals and getting in on the action. I don't feel involved coming on as I've done really late on and it's not something I could hold inside.
“All the lads understand my decision, but no-one knows what it's been like for me. I'm ready to move on.”