Norwich City’s Simeon Jackson hopes Canadians follow him to Premier League
Simeon Jackson is confident his Premier League success at Norwich can help inspire a new generation of Canadian exports.
The 25-year-old, along with the rest of City's squad, is currently undergoing a tough week-long training camp in Austria to try and impress new City chief Chris Hughton ahead of the top flight kick-off at Fulham on August 18.
Jackson is acutely aware operating at the highest level for the Canaries makes him a trail-blazer back in his homeland.
The former Gillingham striker is part of a Canucks' set-up bidding to reach their first World Cup finals since 1986 after an unbeaten start to the next phase of qualifying for Brazil 2014 earlier this summer.
Jackson – who agreed an extension to his Norwich contract during the close season – revealed part of that international revival is down to his productive Carrow Road spell.
'For me as a player on the field I feel the national side now has that belief we can get a result – no matter who we are playing,' he said. 'I have that at Norwich where we are not afraid of anyone. Maybe I wasn't ready for that when Norwich came in for me originally.
'I had to earn my stripes and learn the game a bit more in the Championship, but now I feel I am ready and capable of proving myself at the top level.'
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Jackson believes Canadian football is definitely on the up at home and abroad through not only his exploits, but those of Blackburn's Junior Hoilett, who impressed in both Premier League games against Norwich last season.
'I think it is important for myself and Junior and those in other countries to boost Canadian soccer as well as doing well on the international level,' he said.
'The talent has always been there. It is about grooming that talent and showing they can do it. I think having three franchises now in the MLS is also key.
'It gives the young players something to see and creates a different impression so you can think, 'I can do that one day'. We never had that when I was a youngster.
'That is a plus. I don't think the path really matters. Every player in the national team had a different path and we all ended up in the same place. Once the drive is there and you get the opportunity you can succeed.'
Jackson told Canada's Red Nation soccer magazine reaching the Premier League with Norwich had made all the sacrifices worthwhile after travelling to England in his early teens to follow his professional dream.
'I had to mature really quickly,' he said. 'My family backed me in that decision. They gave me that opportunity and backed my dreams.
'When you see it on television you just create this image in your head of what it might be like.
'Until you get here, and spend time in the dressing rooms and the environment you realise it is different. There are a lot of other things you have to adjust to – not just football. In a different country it is a whole different way of living and you have to adapt and still manage to play your football.
'Sometimes that can be difficult. Along the way there can be many ups and downs and it is how you deal with those setbacks.'