Jos Hooiveld provides breath of fresh air for Norwich City

NCFC new signing, Jos Hooiveld. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

NCFC new signing, Jos Hooiveld. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: copyright: Archant 2014

The Dutch are renowned for their liberal views and it seems Norwich City loan signing Jos Hooiveld is no different.

The centre-back, who joined on a season-long loan from Southampton on transfer deadline day, looks set to provide a breath of fresh air at Carrow Road.

His press conference demeanour at City's Colney Training Centre yesterday suggested there is plenty of brain to go along with the brawn of the 6ft 4ins defender.

The 31-year-old was asked whether he would be taking part in the nationwide anti-homophobia campaign being held this weekend, Rainbow Laces.

The campaign – organised by lesbian, gay and bisexual charity Stonewall and the Gay Football Supporters' Network – is expected to see many players around the country lace their boots with special edition rainbow-coloured laces.

Hooiveld said he is not planning to wear the laces himself and gave an eloquent answer which was a fitting reminder that the English football does still have work to do in beating discrimination in football, particularly when compared with the Netherlands.

'I am from Holland and we are always open to everything and I am no different to that,' he said. 'I am always supportive and I will make sure that outside of the pitch, or wherever, I will support people whatever they do, whatever they stand for.

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'So for me it is not really a big deal to wear the laces, yes or no, but I do appreciate it for the people who want to point it out.'

Club bosses at Carrow Road are happy to let players decide for themselves whether to wear the laces, but have made it clear they are backing the campaign.

A club statement read: 'Norwich City will be joining other clubs in the Premier League and Football League in supporting the campaign this year as part of our on-going commitment to eradicating all forms of discrimination from the game.

'The club recently achieved the preliminary level of Kick It Out's Equality Standard, the Canaries being one of only 17 clubs in England and Wales to have achieved this award.'

Hooiveld's liberal attitude seemed fitting of a player happy to crack a joke and who was settling nicely into his new surroundings.

'If there is no clouds, I can almost see!' he quipped, talking about Norfolk's proximity to his homeland on the continent.

'The trip to my place is further than the flight (from Norwich Airport), the flight is half an hour or 35 minutes and I have to travel about one and a half hours to the place where I am from (in Holland).'

The big defender looks ready for the Championship battle as well, having been a key part of Southampton gaining automatic promotion from the division in 2011/12, playing 41 games and scoring eight goals.

'I thought they played 90 minutes as well? With 11-a-side as well?' Hooiveld said with a smile, when asked if he felt adjusting to the Championship would be difficult.

'Also that's a little bit your mentality, so I think if you think you are the biggest star out there and you have to drop down a level some people struggle with it but I don't think we have anyone in the squad who thinks that way so it's a good thing.'