Crofts caps incredible journey
Andrew Crofts was still trying to get to grips with a dramatic transformation in his career as he shared in Norwich City’s end-of-season promotion celebrations.
The Canaries’ rise from League One to the Premier League through back-to-back promotions is remarkable enough, but the 26-year-old midfielder has completed an even more extraordinary personal footballing journey in the same short space of time.
Two years ago, Crofts finished the 2008-09 campaign playing on loan at Blue Square Premier club Wrexham.
From non-League obscurity, he is now preparing for top-flight football with Paul Lambert’s team, who wrapped up their Championship season with a 2-2 draw against Coventry City amid suitably euphoric scenes at Carrow Road.
“It’s unbelievable. This is what dreams are made of. What a day. What an occasion. You’ve got to just make the most of it,” said the Wales international, who said he never doubted his ability to reach the top.
“I’ve always believed in myself and I’ve always worked hard wherever I’ve been,” he said. “I’ve played in every league now apart from the Premier League, from the Conference to the Championship, so if I play next season that will be an unbelievable achievement for me and one I’ve worked really hard for.
“You appreciate it more, playing at a lower level and working your way up and quite a few of us have done that. That’s why we appreciate what we’ve done so much.
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“It’s every player’s dream to play in the Premier League and that’s what you work so hard for.”
Crofts missed only two of City’s 46 Championship games, one through suspension and one through illness, and scored eight goals into the bargain.
“I’ve chipped in with a few goals, which is a bonus but I’ve always said I don’t care who’s scoring as along as we pick up three points,” he said.
“One of the best statements I’ve heard lately is if you don’t care who gets the credit, you’re going to be successful, and that’s why I feel we’ve done so well.
“As soon as I walked in, there was a winning mentality and I could sense that something was going to happen. We fancied ourselves at the start of the season. But to do what we’ve done is unbelievable and I think no one expected this apart from us.
“The first couple of months you have a rough idea of where you’re going to end up and we started well. The first game (against Watford) was the only game where we were a little bit disappointed but after that we just kicked on and kicked on and we deserve to be where we are.”
Crofts was named man of the match against Coventry and revelled in the atmosphere. He said: “It was brilliant, one of those games when you know you were just going to go out and enjoy every minute of it and lap it up. Fair play to Coventry, they gave it a good go and so did we and a draw was probably a fair result.”
Crofts, who trained with Chelsea in his early teens, can hardly wait to face the country’s top sides.
“My family are big Liverpool fans and I was at Chelsea for quite a few years as a kid, so I’ll be looking forward to them,” he said. “And to go and play at Old Trafford – that’s why it’s such a big reward and we’re all looking forward to it.”