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The ex-Canaries striker believes the club need to convince the Scot to stay and insists that Grant Holt will only miss out on England selection due to his unfashionable status

EXCLUSIVE
By Rob Stewart

Former Norwich City striker Darren Huckerby believes the Canaries will have to match manager Paul Lambert’s ambitions to keep him at Carrow Road amid reports linking him with Aston Villa.

Huckerby has seen Lambert lead the Norfolk club from the lower reaches of League One to mid-table security in the Premier League and is convinced that his success will see the Scot targeted by top-flight rivals.

Villa owner Randy Lerner has been tipped to move for the former Celtic midfielder this summer to replace current boss Alex McLeish and Huckerby feels Norwich will need to convince Lambert to stay put.

“What he has done over the last few years is bound to attract attention,” Huckerby told Goal.com. “It is just a matter of hopefully Norwich City matching his ambitions and keeping him here as long as we can.

“He has been a breath of fresh air. He doesn’t just go defensive. He attacks every game and as a Norwich fan I feel very lucky to have him as our manager. It is only a matter of times before the speculation starts to whirl around him and people start to link him with top clubs because he is that good.

“What has made Norwich so effective this season? There is no other person than the manager because he is a born winner. He knows what he wants and he gets success. He definitely up there to be the manager of the year. What he has done with the club with the money that he has spent and the players that he has got is virtually a miracle.”

Striker Grant Holt has been one of the most obvious success stories during the Lambert reign and his 15 goals this term have even prompted talk that he could earn an England call-up.

Huckerby believes the 31-year-old would merit selection but feels that will miss out due to Norwich’s relatively unfashionable status.

“If it was on merit and it was down to who has been scoring the most goals then he should be,” Huckerby added.

“But to be honest, I can’t see him getting called into the England squad although his performances this season would justify a place.

“I have been in the same situation. That was when I was at Coventry years and years ago and I finished with 14 Premier League goals one season and didn’t get anywhere near the England squad. Sometimes what is most important is the team that you play for.

HAT-TRICK HOLT?
80/1 Grant Holt is 80/1 to score a hat-trickl when Norwich take on Liverpool with Paddy Power

“If you are playing for an Aston Villa or a Liverpool and you have scored 15 Premier League goals in a season then you are going to be in the England squad and there is no doubt about it which is a shame for Grant.

“That is how it works but I really don’t think that it will bother him. He has played non-league football and in the lower leagues and so I’m sure if he’s not picked for England it won’t be the end of the world.

“It is something that when you have finished and you are telling your kids about your career it is something that would be great. Hopefully it will happen. I would love to be proved wrong. But I am pretty sure that it won’t affect him if he is not selected.

“Grant has been unbelievable this season. Most people probably doubted his ability to score goals at Premier League level. I was one who thought he would do all right because his game is not just about scoring goals. Still, I thought he would score ten league goals this season but he has gone on to exceed my expectations in what has been amazing season for him.

“Grant has been a real credit to himself, especially when you consider that just a few years ago he was playing non-league football. He has worked his way up the league and so his is a great story and he deserves all the credit that has been coming his way this season.”

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