Former Chelsea and Leeds United star embraces Hendon challenge
PUBLISHED: 07:00 21 August 2013
Michael Duberry made more than 400 appearances for nine different clubs in a professional career spanning 20 years – but at the age of 37, he says he still has plenty to learn.
It may seem a surprising assertion for a player who won the League Cup, the Uefa Cup Winners Cup and European Super Cup while playing in the Premier League with Chelsea.
But Duberry, who joined Hendon during pre-season after leaving Oxford United at the end of the last campaign, says the Ryman League Premier Division is a whole new ball game.
“Every day is a school-day for me here,” said Duberry. “I’m always learning, there is lots I can take on board from the guys here and vice-versa, I try to pass on my experience to them.
“You never stop learning throughout your career, you always have to conduct yourself in the right way and approach games in the right manner.”
Duberry is a name familiar to anyone with an interest in the Premier League.
After making his debut in the 1993-94 season for Chelsea, the centre-back went on to make more than 80 appearances for the Blues, winning three trophies before moving to Leeds in 1999.
A disappointing spell at Elland Road followed, before in 2004 he joined Stoke City, where he was quickly made captain, starting 80 games over two seasons.
He then went on to feature for Reading, Wycombe Wanderers and St Johnstone in Scotland.
But despite such an impressive career, it is now 15 years since Duberry won his last trophy, the 1998 European Super Cup – and he wants to end the drought.
“I was 22 when I won my last trophy. At that age, you think you’re going to win something every year,” he added. “It’s when you get older that you begin to appreciate football a bit more, you know that every game could be your last.
“Can we win a trophy at Hendon? That has to be the target, you only have a few targets each season and I think the lads here are good enough to win something.
“It will be tough though – at the end of the Dulwich match the other week my chest was burning!
“I’ve made no secret of the fact that I believe I can play at a higher level, and if the phone rings and someone wants me then I’ll consider it, just like any player would.
“But while I’m at Hendon I’m 120 per cent committed. It’s a professional set-up here, they do things properly.”
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