Ex-City striker returns to Colney to talk to players about life after football

PUBLISHED: 11:59 11 March 2020 | UPDATED: 12:28 11 March 2020

Norwich City's Leon McKenzie celebrates his first goal for the club during the match at Ipswich

Pic Simon Finlay
copyright EDP 2003

Norwich City's Leon McKenzie celebrates his first goal for the club during the match at Ipswich Pic Simon Finlay copyright EDP 2003

Former Norwich City striker Leon McKenzie returned to Colney on Tuesday to speak with a number of the club’s academy players regarding careers after football.

McKenzie has spokenly publicly about his struggles with mental health during and after his playing career and he is now keen to help the next generation of talent with their life post-football.

The 41-year-old moved into professional boxing after retirement, making his debut in 2013, a year after he quit football.

McKenzie is fondly remembered by Canaries supporters for netting a brace on his league debut in a 2-0 victory over Ipswich Town in 2003 that took City to the top of the division.

He was also influential in the Canaries title-winning campaign in the 03/04 season, before completing his meteroic rise to fame by becoming a Premier League footballer a year later.

Norwich City's Craig Fleming and Leon McKenzie celebrate the win at Ipswich; Pic Simon Finlay; copyright EDP 2003Norwich City's Craig Fleming and Leon McKenzie celebrate the win at Ipswich; Pic Simon Finlay; copyright EDP 2003

Now, McKenzie is attempting to educate the next generation of budding footballers about the importance of possessing a back-up plan.

'I didn't think of a career after football, not while I was playing, hence why I'm standing here today speaking to them with a purpose. I know what it's like to finish and not really know what you're going to do, that's one of the reasons why I do what I do.

'At the age of 17 when I made my debut, I would've started the process when I was flying. I'd have understood that, although football is everything, it's a lot deeper and bigger overall.

'Everything can change in football just like that. It's about understanding that and giving yourself an opportunity and chance to have a future after football, I would've definitely put that into place.'

McKenzie met with City's under-23s and 18s to discuss their options should football not work out for them.

'We had two fantastic groups today, the Under-23s and Under-18s. Both engaged with me, especially the Under-18s, who gave me some fantastic answers back and totally understood,' he told City's website.

'What Norwich City are doing as a football club is truly commendable to where they're at. I know it's been a very established club in that respect, so it doesn't surprise me. It was good to see kids of that age replying with intelligent answers.'

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