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Darren Huckerby signed for Leeds from Coventry City for a reputed £6 million in 1999 but his time at Leeds was not a success. With Leeds on the cusp of success he had to compete for a place with the likes of Mark Viduka, Alan Smith and Michael Bridges. In forty league appearances for Leeds Huckerby managed only two goals for Leeds. He did however make an impact in Leeds European campaigns scoring against Partizan Belgrade in the 1999 UEFA Cup and against Besiktas in the 2000 Champions League run.
Darren Huckerby, speaking exclusively to 888sport speaks about his time at Leeds United; "I left Coventry where I played week in and week out and I didn’t really want to leave at the time: I was forced out for the money. Don’t get me wrong, Leeds are a massive club and I enjoyed my time there but I always felt like a bit-part player, like I was cheating a bit. That wasn’t just down to the management: there were some really good players there but it was a difficult time for me just being an impact sub.
I probably was a disappointment purely because I didn’t play enough games to show people what I was about. I do believe that I was bought as an impact sub which wasn’t great for me to be honest because it’s hard to just come on for the last twenty minutes. I do think that I contributed but at every club that I played for except for Leeds the fans got to know what I was about but there I didn’t show it.
There was a lot of away trips and I spent a lot of time with the lads and I enjoyed that. There were a lot of good young players who were learning the game and enjoying themselves and we had a great team spirit. It was a good time for Leeds and we were doing well. On a personal note though it was difficult.
I believe that I could do stuff that not a lot of other people could. I would say that I could do world-class things but not consistently enough. There were times when I could look unplayable but not consistently. Particularly during my time at Coventry I was up against some world-class defenders and I could make them look silly sometimes.
I think whoever I played for the fans keep me in high regard and as a player that’s all you can really ask for. Because that’s what you’re there for: to make the fans happier; to entertain. People pay your wages and deserve to see good football and I delivered that over my career."
Read the full 888sport interview with Darren Huckerby, including his thoughts on whether he would have liked playing under ‘intense’ Bielsa