IN-FORM Chesterfield winger and Manchester United target, Tendayi Darikwa feels he is not yet ready for the Old Trafford challenge, following moves for him by manager David Moyes.
BY MICHAEL MADYIRA, SPORTS REPORTER OF THE YEAR
Moyes was a surprise guest on a Darikwa scouting mission when Chesterfield visited Fleetwood Town at Highbury for a top-of-the-table English League Two clash last weekend.
The England-born player, who qualifies to play for the Warriors by virtue of his Zimbabwean father, played the entire match under the supervision of Moyes in a match which ended in a one-all draw.
The former Everton boss could make a January swop for Darikwa after resuming his pursuit of the 21-year-old, which started while he was at the Merseyside outfit last season.
“The Manchester United level is too high, and I do not have enough experience as yet, but if they sign me I will be up for the challenge,” Darikwa exclusively told Standardsport in his first ever public statement since Moyes’ visit.
“I am not yet ready to play at that level, but I know if I continue working hard I will play for them one day. But my focus right now is to play well for Chesterfield. We have a strong team here and we are looking at promotion into League One.”
Comparisons with other Manchester United Spaniard targets, Barcelona’s Cesc Fabregas and Athletic Bilbao midfieder Ander Herrera have already been made by the British media.
“I did not know until after the match that Moyes was there watching me. He did not speak to me. It is a dream come true to be linked with a club like Manchester United because they are one of the biggest clubs in the world. I am happy and proud and their interest means I am playing good football,” he said.
Although valued at just over US$2 million, Chesterfield chief executive officer Chris Turner has stated that they will only accept a higher price for Darikwa, who has scored two goals in 12 appearances this season.
Once under the radar of Liverpool and Everton last season, Tottenham, West Ham and Fulham have recently emerged as his suitors and will have to outbid Manchester United.
“It depends on the type of deal to sign with the clubs. Maybe I will move. I don’t know,” he said.
Darikwa also made a tempting statement, that there is a “strong possibility” he could play for the Warriors if considered for selection.
He holds a British passport and has in the past said he is undecided which country to represent between Zimbabwe and his country of birth.
He was keen to play for Zimbabwe a few years ago, but after allegedly being asked to pay a US$5 000 “processing fee” by a former Zimbabwe Football Association official, he was forced to reconsider his decision.
“I still have not made up my mind as yet, but there is a strong possibility that I can come down there and play for Zimbabwe. I would be happy to consider that,” he said.
“Obviously coming down there is the Zimbabwe coach’s choice. None of the countries have approached me so far, but I will have to sit down with my agent and family before I make the final decision.”
He has never been to Zimbabwe and cannot speak any local Zimbabwean language.
“I have never been to Zimbabwe but I follow the national team and the Premier Soccer League. I watched the goals of the friendly match against South Africa and I can see the standards of the Premier Soccer League are good,” he said.
“I do not know the players except Baz [Onismor Bhasera] because I played against him when he was at Plymouth Argyle but I have never spoken to him. I also know Bradley Pritchard at Charlton Athletic and it would be good if I get hold of him.”
Often employed as a winger, Darikwa can also play at right-back.
“I prefer the right side of midfield because you get to attach more and score more goals.”