Former Norwich City striker Jamie Cureton still going strong

Jamie Cureton is fondly remembered by Norwich City fans after two spells with the Canaries.

Jamie Cureton is fondly remembered by Norwich City fans after two spells with the Canaries. - Credit: Ashley Pickering/Sportsbeat Imag

Evergreen former Norwich City striker Jamie Cureton believes he will still be able to cut it at 40 in the Football League.

Cureton has plundered 20 goals for League Two Exeter this season to push the Grecians into contention for automatic promotion. The 37-year-old is expected to again lead the line tonight against Bristol Rovers – the club he joined from Norwich for £200,000 way back in 1996.

Cureton's remarkable journey has taken in two spells at both the Canaries and now Exeter along with a stint in South Korea during a career that shows no signs of slowing down.

'I am going to keep going. I still have a real hunger for the game. I enjoy getting up and going training and still enjoy scoring and running around,' he said.

'As long as my legs keep going and someone wants to employ me I will keep playing. I think the boys at Exeter look at me as a bit of freak of nature.

'I am fitter now than maybe I was five or seven years ago. I work hard at it, purely because I want to keep playing.

'The coaches have spoken to me about doing yoga so I might look at that, but generally I have just cut things out and if I can I might still be playing at 40.

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'We'll see. I will definitely stay in football, whether that is coaching or something else. It is all I have known since the age of seven.

'School was never great for me, football was my life and I will try to give as much back as I can when I retire.'

The ex-Norwich trainee is now second only to 39-year-old goal machine Kevin Phillips in the list of active scorers plying their trade in the English game. Cureton, speaking to Talksport, feels his latest prolific spell in the West Country is the product of two decades as a professional.

'I am definitely a better player now – just the knowledge of knowing your runs and things you pick up throughout your career,' he said.

'It is just a shame that you reach this stage later in your career to find that out because you would love to have had this knowledge earlier on.

'I have picked up a lot of stuff and I am always learning. I don't think I am finished yet. There are always things you can pick up.

'When I was a young player I probably tended to stay in the (penalty) box a lot more than I do now and I work a lot harder now.

'I am playing up front on my own for Exeter and a lot of my managers in the past would think that was a role I could not do.

'I get told to stay between the two centre halves and I do a lot of running in behind to stretch the pitch. That is my game, trying to get in behind and hurt teams.'

Cureton's latest goal helped seal Exeter's 3-0 home win over Northampton last weekend which left the fourth-placed Grecians one point behind Burton ahead of midweek fixtures in the race for automatic promotion from League Two.

'I probably could have had two more and we played really well. We could have won by a few more goals, definitely,' he said. 'It's been a good season all round so far and we are now getting down to it where everything counts. We are in a good position and we obviously want to try and get up into that top three.

'We've got our main rivals in the next four or five games so I guess by the middle of March we will know where we are at.'

Cureton is the second highest goalscorer still active in the English game.

The ex-Norwich City striker has 246 career goals to his name, with only Kevin Phillips above him in the standings with a tally of 283 goals – after a hat-trick Crystal Palace last night.

The top three is completed by Chelsea and England midfielder Frank Lampard, who has netted 239 times, while seven other players are still adding to totals of over 200.

A second former Norwich City striker is in the top 10 in the shape of Robert Earnshaw (202), although the ex-Welsh international earlier this week left Championship title-challengers Cardiff to link up with Toronto FC in the MLS, while Grant Holt is currently in 11th place on 184. Wayne Rooney, who smashed a stunning fourth goal in Manchester United's 4-0 Premier League win over the Canaries at the weekend is the only current player under the age of 30 in the list. The former Evertonian turned 27 last October

• Top Ten (Goals scored for British clubs only)

1. Kevin Phillips (Crystal Palace, loan) 283

2. Jamie Cureton (Exeter) 246

3. Frank Lampard (Chelsea) 239

4. Rickie Lambert (Southampton) 216

5. Wayne Rooney (Manchester United) 213

6. Lee Hughes (Port Vale) 211

7. Jermain Defoe (Tottenham) 209

8. Steve Howard (Hartlepool) 208

9. Michael Owen (Stoke) 206

10. Rob Earnshaw (Toronto) 202