The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Chris Dunlavy

NO WON­DER Nouha Dicko is so adept with a ball at his feet. Grow­ing up in Paris, the Wolves striker had an en­tire 11-a-side team to prac­tice with – plus subs!

One of an in­cred­i­ble 13 kids, the 22-year-old has eight broth­ers and four sis­ters cheer­ing him on from the French cap­i­tal.

“Peo­ple in Europe are al­ways amazed,” laughs Dicko, whose par­ents were born in the West African na­tion of Mali. “But in Africa it is very com­mon to have such a big fam­ily. I guess we fol­low the Malian tra­di­tions.

“I am the fourth el­dest. The youngest is not even two yet so there is like a 20-year dif­fer­ence be­tween us!”

You might ex­pect an im­mi­grant’s son from an in­ner city sub­urb to tell the familiar tale of a poverty, crime and tough teenage years on the mean streets. Yet Dicko has no time for th­ese old cliches, re­call­ing his child­hood with noth­ing but fond­ness.


“My fam­ily were not rich,” says Dicko. “But we had enough and I never woke up think­ing ‘I wish I had this, I wish I had that’. I am the same now. Yes, I can buy more things than I had be­fore, but money is not what makes me happy. “We grew up on an es­tate in the south of Paris and I loved it. There were lots of things to do, lots of places to make friends.

“And the house was never empty. There was al­ways some­one to play with. My broth­ers and my friends were al­ways talk­ing about foot­ball. We all chose dif­fer­ent teams to sup­port so on the week­end when we watched foot­ball on TV we would al­ways have a lot of jokes about who was best. Then we would go out and play our­selves. It was a very happy time. “I see them when I have the time but I don’t go back to

Lamand. “H

PIC­TURE: Ac­tion Images

HAIL­ING A LIFT: Nouha Dicko is on a jour­ney to the top

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