Here's looking at you Hucks
CHRIS LAKEY Norwich City - and Darren Huckerby in particular - are becoming cult figures in the desert kingdom of Morocco. Canaries midfielder and Moroccan international Youssef Safri says it's a case of “play it again, Darren” for fans who wear the yellow and green on the streets of Casablanca.
Norwich City - and Darren Huckerby in particular - are becoming cult figures in the desert kingdom of Morocco.
Canaries midfielder and Moroccan international Youssef Safri says it's a case of “play it again, Darren” for fans who wear the yellow and green on the streets of Casablanca.
“He has a fan club - if he wants to move to Morocco he will be welcome there,” laughed Safri. “On the Moroccan channels especially, when we were in the Premiership, the fans watched every game on satellite and Norwich have become really, really famous in Morocco.
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“When I go back there I see many people wearing Norwich City shirts, which is really nice for me and the team. They wear it because of the team and because of Huckerby.
“Most of the Moroccan national team players know him as well. He has played against Talal El Karkouri from Charlton, he played against Noureddine Naybet from Spurs and they are the top players in my national team.”
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Safri is clearly one of Huckerby's biggest fans and is hoping that, after a one-match ban last week against Sheffield Wednesday, he'll be back alongside him in the City side that runs out at Southampton this afternoon.
“I believe Hucks is one of the very top players, I love to play with him,” said Safri. “It is not only me who says that - ask any player at Norwich, ask the fans.
“But there are really, really good players in the Norwich squad which is why I believe 100pc there is a chance this year to get to the Premiership or a play-off place.”
Safri's own place in the team is by no means guaranteed under manager Peter Grant, but he insists that there is no truth in the rumours that he might be on his way out of Carrow Road.
“Hopefully I am not going anywhere - I would like to stay and I want to stay,” he said. “I am really happy about everything at Norwich.
“When you are not playing then no player in the world is happy, but otherwise everything here is really good. When you play everything is fine. When you don't play or you are on the bench and you feel you deserve to start that is disappointing for any player.
“It's frustrating when you are not starting and I look forward to starting games all the time. I am here just for football, I love my job and I love to start every game.”
Safri has a relationship with City fans that few others can equal - and says the feeling is mutual.
“To be honest - and I swear about this - they are the best fans I have ever played in front of, even in Morocco, even at Coventry, anywhere in the world,” he said. “I have played in the African Nations Cup many times and Norwich fans are so special, that is why every time I am on the pitch I give more than 100pc. It is not for myself, the first thing is for the team and for the fans.
“Last time when I came on against Leicester it was the best time I have ever had in my career, I can't explain it.
“That's why I want to give more and more effort. I give more than 100pc - I give my blood to this team and to the fans.
“When you hear you name chanted by 25,000 people and you're name is famous with them, the only thing I can give them back is to work hard and to score goals and help the team to go up the table.”