David Nugent: Talentspotter

Leicester City striker and England 'one cap, one goal' legend David Nugent speaks to FourFourTwo back in 2005, when he was just 20 and playing for Preston.

Nicknames
Nuge… or Shrek, 
from the time I had the mumps 
a few months ago. All the lads were giving me stick because of my fat face. I’ve also had to put up with Desperate Dan recently.
 
As a boy I supported...
Everton, because my family are all Evertonians so I grew up with 
that. My dad is a big Evertonian 
and you have to follow in your father’s footsteps, don’t you?
 
Before I played for Preston...
I played for Bury. I was also at 
the Liverpool Academy but they decided to release me when I was 14-years-old. Being released by Liverpool at such a young age was an extra incentive that pushed me harder to succeed.
 
Strengths
I’d say my goalscoring and my work-rate.
 
Weaknesses
My heading, although I’m trying to work at it. I’m slowly improving in that department but I’m not that good at the moment, so I would still only give myself about five out of 10.
 
Heroes
Duncan Ferguson, who probably wouldn’t be many people’s idea of a hero but for me he’s Everton through and through. He’s big, strong and wins his headers and scores goals.
 
I play a bit like...
I would like to say Thierry Henry, but I can’t. I’d say 
I’m probably closer to a Darren Huckerby type of player.
 
Highlights
Playing for Preston at Cardiff, in the play-off final against West Ham, and making my debut for Bury. But it was also a very special moment when I scored 
my first goal for Preston, at QPR, after coming on as a substitute. The U20 Toulon Tournament was also amazing for me considering the quality of players that were out there. It was good to mark the start of what I hope will be an England career by scoring the equaliser against Mexico, in injury-time, that sent the game to penalties.
 
Lowlights
Getting beaten in the play-off final and having meningitis when I was 15, which kept me out for three months.
 
Toughest opponent
I would have to say Martin Keown. When I played against him I nutmegged him in the corner, and the next time I tried it he tried to break my leg.
 
Best player played with
I’d have 
to say Paul McKenna at Preston because he sees things so early, 
well before the ball comes to him. 
He has tremendous vision and a great touch on the ball.
 
Biggest practical joker 

Chris Sedgwick who’s very sharp-witted. He’s a rarity: 
a Yorkshireman with a sense of humour. But I have to say I think 
I’m close to overtaking him in the smart remark department.
 
Most embarrassing moment
Probably getting my shorts pulled down when I was playing for Bury against Wycombe Wanderers. Luckily I was wearing briefs.
 
What advice would you give 
to a youngster who wants to become a professional footballer?
From my own personal experience 
it would have to be never give up; always try your hardest. If you play your hardest you will always have 
a chance to succeed.
 
Biggest influence
My mum and 
dad, because they stood by me 
in my attempts to get back into football after Liverpool and drove me everywhere to play football. My dad was a goalkeeper so I used to smack goals past him whenever 
I could as a kid. I’m very grateful 
to my parents.
 
We hear Tom Finney’s a fan. Has he given you any advice?
No, but 
I believe he said: “I think he is a player who is going to be worthy of the Premiership.” I hope he’s right.
 
Tunes
50 Cent’s Candy Shop.
 
Flicks
The Green Mile and Saw.
 
Wheels
18-inch alloy wheels… on an Audi A4 convertible.
 
Chicks
Jessica Simpson because she is absolutely gorgeous.
 
TV programmes
The Simpsons 
and The OC.
 
If I hadn’t been a footballer...

I would probably have been a coach.
 
Tell us something we don’t know about you...
I once ripped my boots 
in a youth game for Bury so I had to borrow a pair of the new Predators from my mate, who was at Liverpool at the time. I was 
made up, playing in a pair of 
boots from my old club.
 
In five years’ time I’ll be...
Hopefully playing for Everton – alongside Duncan Ferguson if he’s still fit enough – and hopefully playing for England.
 
From the September 2005 issue of FourFourTwo.


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