Interview by Chris Teale and Matt Scrafton.
Darren, with your new book out, what is the highlight of your career, would you say?
I suppose winning the league [first division] twice: once with Norwich, in the 2003-04 season, and once with Manchester City, in 2001-02. You can go through a career without winning much sometimes, so it’s always nice to win something.
Any regrets at all?
Not really. There were times when I left different clubs when I possibly didn’t want to but that often happens in football, so no real regrets, to be honest. I had a 16-year career, and I feel incredibly lucky.
And being back here in Norwich, do you have happy memories of your time at Carrow Road?
Yes, very fond memories of my time here. It’s the place where I was the happiest and the most settled, and probably the place where I enjoyed my football the most.
And what do you make of their start to the season, obviously it was a disappointing result today [2-1 defeat at home to Arsenal], but would you say they’ve been doing well?
It’s been a great start, but it’s also a very ruthless league. If a couple of teams win today we’re going to be one point off the bottom, and that shows how difficult this league is. You think you’re doing well, and then it comes back and bites you. It’s just like Blackpool last season, people thought they were going to finish in the top ten, they went on a poor streak for 20 games and ended up relegated. But, it’s a long way to go.
I had a look at your Twitter feed, and apparently you applied to be the manager of Lincoln City. Is that true, and is management something that interests you?
Yes, it’s something I would like to probably get into. Lincoln was a one-off case, but it’s a place I know; I know the surroundings and I know the people there, so it would have been an ideal start-up job, but it wasn’t to be, so that’s life.
And what do you make of their current plight?
Well, obviously they’re struggling. They’re in the Blue Square Premier, which isn’t big enough for a club of Lincoln’s potential.
I can’t go any further in the interview without mentioning a certain interview you did for American television.
For KRON, yes. How did it feel to be described as a “legend of English football,” that must have been a very surreal experience for you?
Yes, I think he was on about Ryan Giggs! It depends who you ask. Wherever you play people see you as something different. I’m sure if you asked Norwich fans, I would be, and if you asked Leeds fans, probably not, so that’s how it works.
What was your time like in America? Was it what you expected from it?
My first season there was good, I had no injury problems, I won the MLSNewcomer of the Year and won Player of the Year for my team, San Jose Earthquakes and was top goalscorer in four or five months, so that was great. The year after, I was starting to have some problems with my hip and it wasn’t as good, to be honest. But the actual living there and being there was pretty good.
Who would you say is the best striker you played with?
I’d say Dion Dublin from my time at Coventry City. We had a great partnership. He finished as top goalscorer in the Premier League, which for a team like Coventry was incredible.
And the best individual you played against?
It’s hard to say. Possibly [Cristiano] Ronaldo. On his day, he was virtually unstoppable, so I’d say Ronaldo.
And what about the best manager you played under?
It’s difficult, they’ve all got different aspects. I liked Nigel [Worthington], I liked [Gordon] Strachan a lot, so I’d possibly say one of them.
I think we’re done there, thanks very much for your time Darren.
Brilliant stuff, thank you.
Photo by Issy Mitchell.