Norwich City colleagues hail ‘Captain Fantastic’ Holt

Grant Holt has been hailed as Norwich City's Captain Fantastic.

The Canaries No 9 is in the running for the prestigious Championship Player of the Year award tomorrow – along with QPR's Adel Taarabt and Swansea's Scott Sinclair.

For City fans, there is only one winner.

Paul Lambert gave Holt the captain's armband almost as soon as he walked through the door, and the goals he has plundered since his arrival – a staggering 48 in just 84 games – and his no-nonsense approach to the game, have ensured him cult status among the club's supporters.

The players, too, acknowledge that Holt is their natural leader in a team which isn't short of contenders for the armband.

'It's not just his goals, it is his all-round performances that I am sure have got him nominated,' said midfielder David Fox.

'He is a definite leader on the pitch and he is chirpy around the training ground as well, which I think helps as a captain, but on the pitch he is the natural leader really. His work rate and his effort and the way he takes the burden of responsibility he is definitely captain material and the lads are really pleased for him that he has got this recognition.'

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'He is a great leader,' said midfielder Andrew Crofts . 'He leads from the front. He works really hard for the team – it's not just his goals that have been important for us, it's his all-round play.

'The skipper has been great all year and he has scored some vital goals for us as well and he works really hard for the team.'

It could be a perfect double, with Henri Lansbury nominated for the Young Player of the Season award.

'They have both been massive for us,' said Fox. 'It's not a surprise they have been nominated. Henri has come up with some massive goals for us, the same as Holty.'

For his manager, Lansbury is pretty much the ideal loan player – raised under the guidance of Arsene Wenger at Arsenal and taking the move to new surroundings in his stride.

'I think that is the biggest compliment that I can give him,' said Lambert. 'That he has come here and fitted in really well and given us everything he has had.

'The ones who you do get problems with are the ones who come here and want to have a great night out here in Norwich.'

Lansbury, at 20 years old and from the bright lights of the city, might be a perfect candidate for doing just that. Quite the contrary, says his boss.

'I think he's got his head screwed on,' said Lambert. 'I think he knows what's right and what's wrong, but his performances for this football club since he has been here have been extremely high. He has been great.

'It's brilliant – I think any award you get or any accolade you get nominated for is great.'

While Crofts lines up behind Holt at Hull this afternoon, he is looking forward to meeting up with another player he believes has great leadership qualities when his Wales side take on England in a Euro qualifier at the Millennium Stadium next weekend.

Leading the England side is expected to be John Terry – a former flat-mate of Crofts' during his time as a youngster at Chelsea.

'I was good mates with him when I was at Chelsea,' said Crofts. 'I was obviously quite a bit younger than him, but I used to stay in digs with him and his best mate, Paul Nicholls so it will be great to see him again. He is having a great career and it will be good to have a chat with him.

'Hopefully he has an off day against us because everyone knows what a great defender he is and a great leader as well.

'It's a massive match to be involved in,' said Crofts. 'I think they have sold 69,000 tickets and to be in front of that and to be involved in that is going to be an unbelievable experience.

'I get a buzz playing in front of the Norwich with that amount of people screaming and cheering so I am looking forward to seeing what it's going to be like at the Millennium.'

For Crofts, it's domestic business first, and the trip to Hull on the back of excellent performances at Leicester and then at home to Bristol City on Monday.

'The results have been going well and the performances so, if you can put those two together and keep them going, it is a good thing to have,' he said.

'We just have to keep doing what we are doing – all the lads just can't wait for the next game.

'They are a very good team, they have picked right up since the start of the season and the manager has got them playing some good stuff and they have had some good results of late. We fancy ourselves wherever we go, but we know it's going to be a tough test, but one we are looking forward to.'