Iwan Roberts pays tribute – and breathes a little easier – following Grant Holt’s Norwich City exit
- Credit: Graham Lynch
Iwan Roberts may be able to rest easy over his place in Norwich City's all-time goalscoring charts – but he believes departed skipper Grant Holt has been the reason for the club's meteoric rise and subsequent Premier League stability.
Holt called time on his four years at Carrow Road with a move to relegated Wigan Athletic, finishing sixth in City's most prolific marksmen – his tally of 78 falling behind the likes of Robert Fleck (84) and third-placed Roberts (96).
'He's cemented his place in the club's history,' said Roberts. 'He's been a massive part, from getting them out of League One to being established and looking forward to a third Premier League season.
'I'd go as far as to say he probably is the main reason why the club has reached those heights. His goals, enthusiasm, work ethic. It's tremendous and you can't speak highly enough of someone like that.
'He surprised me with how he adapted quite comfortably to life at the highest level, and that just goes to prove the character and desire that he had.
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'I've no doubt if Grant was coming to his 28th, 29th birthday there's no way he'd have left the football club. He would've gone on to leapfrog me into third.
'When he got 15 goals in the Premier League and signed his new contract (last summer), I thought he had a great chance of doing it. If he'd have seen his contract out, he wouldn't have been far away.'
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Holt acknowledged being closer to his Carlisle-based family was key to his move, and Roberts understands his position: 'I can imagine it's played a massive part.
'When I played we all moved together and settled in the area. But when I first arrived at Norwich I used to commute to Shropshire every other weekend, and the travelling does take it out of you. That's why you need your family around you.
'He's not the type of person who was going to settle here forever and good luck to him. He's signed a three-year contract, which takes him to 35. He's had as big an impact in my time of playing and living in Norwich as anybody.'