City keeper grateful for support since cancer diagnosis
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Lim
Daniel Barden has expressed his gratitude at the outpouring of support he has received since his testicular cancer diagnosis was made public.
The young goalkeeper announced his illness in October and has since taken a break from the game to receive treatment.
Barden and his family were due to be special guests of club owners Delia Smith and Michael Wynn Jones for Norwich City's Premier League match with his boyhood club Arsenal but decided to stay away from Carrow Road due to the current Covid situation.
The Welshman has received constant support from senior club officials, including regular dialogue with goalkeeper coach Ed Wootten and sporting director Stuart Webber.
Barden has had plenty of goodwill messages and support from across the footballing spectrum during the last few months, including from inside the club's first-team dressing room.
"Once Norwich told all the first team players, I received loads of messages, wishing me the best and saying that if I needed anything just to ask.
"That was really nice, and it made such a difference knowing that they were there to support me," he told the club's matchday programme.
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"Stuart (Webber) and Neil (Adams) have been really supportive through the whole treatment as well. They have been messaging frequently and talking to my parents, wanting to know how I have been getting on, but also keen to see me as well.
"A few weeks back I went into Colney to see Neil and Stuart as well as staff in the academy. They just said: ‘take your time with the recovery... the club will always be here to support you in getting back to playing".
Barden played an important role in the Canaries' promotion to the Premier League last season, standing in for goalkeeper Tim Krul when he came down with Covid-19 and understudy Michael McGovern was injured.
His positive performances saw him earn a move to Scottish Premiership side Livingston.
It was during his time in Scotland that he discovered a lump on one of his testicles, which was then diagnosed by doctors as cancer.
There remains optimism that Barden will make a full recovery and continue his career with the Canaries once his treatment has finished.
Prior to their Premier League match against Chelsea earlier this season, the Welshman's colleagues wore warm-up shirts in support of their teammate.
Barden has admitted that was a moving moment as he watched the game on TV from home.
"Then seeing the warm-up shirts at the Chelsea game was a bit emotional," he admitted.
"I was at home with my family when I saw it on the TV. It was such a nice gesture and it really did help, seeing it front and centre on the TV. It was mad. I really, really appreciated it.
"Hearing that was just so reassuring, my long-term health is obviously the number one concern but the career I want is a very close second."