OLIVER NORWOOD aims to cap a memorable week by helping Huddersfield Town entertain a big crowd with three points against Wolves at the John Smith’s Stadium tomorrow.
The 21-year-old midfield kingpin was one of Northern Ireland’s heroes in midweek as they battled for a 1-1 World Cup qualifying draw against Portugal in Porto – and he can’t wait to return to the Championship fray in 24 hours.
That’s especially so because he is now the proud owner of Cristiano Ronaldo’s shirt from what was the Portuguese superstar’s 100th international appearance.
Norwood was a first-year youth training player at Manchester United when Ronaldo was terrorising Premier League defences.
But their paths crossed enough times on the training ground at Carrington for Town’s summer signing to rate Ronaldo as the best player on the planet ahead of Barcelona’s Lionel Messi.
Rio Ferdinand’s help was enlisted before Tuesday’s game to ensure Ronaldo kept the shirt for Town’s No4 – Norwood wears No16 for his country – and the Bernabeu ace was true to his word.
“I saw him in the tunnel after the game and while he was disappointed that he hadn’t scored and they hadn’t won, he said the shirt was mine, wished me luck for the future and told me to keep on playing well,” said Burnley-based Norwood.
“I’ve got a few shirts from matches through my career, but I don’t think I’ll ever get a better one than Ronaldo’s 100th cap so it will be framed and it will be going up on the wall in my house.
“It’s a fantastic thing to have and I’m grateful to Cristiano for letting me have it and to Rio for helping set it all up.
“I have obviously watched what he’s done since my early days at United, when I used to watch Ronaldo and the rest of the first team on the training ground, and also see what they did in the gym.
“As far as I’m concerned, he’s the best player in the world. I’ve seen close up how hard he has had to work – and to score goals like he has in the top two leagues in the world is an incredible achievement. He’s proved himself as the No1.”
Norwood is now focusing on Town trying to leapfrog tomorrow’s third-placed opponents in the table with a sixth Championship win of the campaign, building on the 1-0 victory at Birmingham last time out.
“It’s a massive game against Wolves and the chance for us to move even higher in the league,” he explained.