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Tendayi Darikwa: future Zimbabwe star?

Tipped for greatness ... Tendayi Darikwa with League 2 Player of the Month trophy

24/01/2013 00:00:00
by Sports Reporter
Going places ... Tendayi Darikwa
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TENDAYI Darikwa – who has Zimbabwean parents – has signed a new three-year deal with English League Two side Chesterfield.

The 20-year-old winger, who had only agreed a one-year extension in the summer, has scored two goals in 15 appearances this season.

He said: "It has been a great season for me personally. I'm a hard-worker and believe if you do that then you will get your rewards, but this season has gone well for me.

"I have only ever wanted to be involved in football and I am very thankful to Chesterfield for giving me a chance.
"I feel like I am doing well and confident in every game, I think it is showing in my performances.

"For me, this is a dream come true and I will just keep working hard to get to highest level I can, which is obviously the Premier League."

Darikwa made his debut for the club at the age of 18 in an FA Cup second round defeat by Burton in November 2010.

The player’s rich vein of form saw him named Football League Young Player of the Month for December – and his progress will be monitored by new Zimbabwe coach Klaus Pagels who could use the player’s parentage to enlist him for his squad ahead of the 2014 World Cup qualifiers.

Darikwa – who has attracted interest from several Premier League clubs including Everton and Liverpool – joined Chesterfield as a right-back after leaving school at 16 and made his Football League debut last February at Notts County, a ground just down the road from where he still lives with his mother in West Bridgford.

In late September, Tommy Wright – now assistant to current Chesterfield boss Paul Cook but back then running the first team following the departure of John Sheridan – pushed him into an attacking position for the trip to Northampton. It was Darikwa's first league start.

"There was nothing particularly tactical about the decision," Wright told BBC Sport. "We had a few injuries and I knew he would work hard.

"Since then he has flourished. What has happened to him over the last six months is massive. It has got to the point where you can see other teams worrying about how to stop him."

Cook took over as manager in late October and shortly afterwards gave Darikwa a new three-year deal.

"I don't think he is very good," deadpanned the affable Cook when asked what he thought of Darikwa. "I think everyone should leave him alone. I think he is going backwards at the minute."


But in truth he readily acknowledges that in a short space of time Darikwa, who usually plays on the right side of an attacking trio behind a lone striker in a 4-2-3-1 formation, has become one of his key players.

"He is already a very good footballer and he is going to have a very good career," said Cook.

"We all want young lads to be in the team but they must be good enough - and he certainly is."

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