How Norwich City heroes have helped rivals

Chris LakeyTwo Norwich City legends have been credited with producing a star of the future - for one of City's biggest rivals. Darren Huckerby and Chris Sutton have played major roles in the development of Leeds striker Davide Somma, who is being tipped for great things at Elland Road.Chris Lakey

Two Norwich City legends have been credited with producing a star of the future - for one of City's biggest rivals.

Darren Huckerby and Chris Sutton have played major roles in the development of Leeds striker Davide Somma, who is being tipped for great things at Elland Road.

It was Huckerby who first advised the South Africa-born Italian to try his hand in England, and it's Sutton who has given him a valuable introduction to the game with a loan spell at Lincoln City.

And with Leeds red-hot favourites to claim League One's second automatic promotion spot and join Norwich in the Championship next season, City fans could see first hand just what has impressed the ex-Canaries.

Somma was brought up in America and joined Leeds last summer, although he has spent the second half of the season on loan at Lincoln, where eight goals in 12 games have earned him a contract extension at Elland Road.

First on to the scene was Huckerby, whose career included a season and-a-half at Leeds and which ended playing in the American MLS with San Joe Earthquakes.

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"I started playing football in America when I was 11 and then when I was 18 I went to Italy where I played in the lower leagues for Perugia and Pro Vasto," said Somma, 25.

"After that I went back to America and I started playing for the San Jose Earthquakes and Darren Huckerby was at the club.

"I was not playing much at the time and he told me to try and have a go in England.

"He has contacts here and he is obviously a former Leeds player and, with my agent as well, I managed to get a chance to come to Leeds.

"Darren had a fantastic career and it is great to know people like him and he is a top guy, so it is good to keep in touch with him.

"Even being on loan in League Two, the standard of football is a lot harder than in the MLS.

"Here you have to be quicker and smarter to succeed.

"Leeds is a massive club and it is a real honour to be at the club and hopefully I will get the chance to be a first team regular. "It would be great if we could get to the Championship this season and then the aim would be to get to the Premier League."

The man who has helped smooth a few of the rough edges is Sutton, who took Somma to Sincil Bank in February and was repaid with the goals that helped keep Lincoln's heads above water in League Two.

Somma says working with a man who scored almost 200 goals in his career - including 43 at Carrow Road where his career began in the early 90s - has improved him.

"I knew that when I went to Lincoln I had to do well," he said.

"I went to Chesterfield earlier in the season and I didn't do well and I got injured so I knew I had to take my chance at Lincoln.

"The manager, Chris Sutton, was a big-time striker in his day and I have really learnt from him, and it has been a great experience."

Somma will return to Elland Road after Lincoln's final match of the season, at home to Macclesfield, on Saturday - and if the bookies are accurate, will be in the Championship come August.

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