STEVE MOUNIE has revealed how a daily bowl of porridge is helping fuel Huddersfield Town’s Premier League survival attempt.
The club’s £11.5m record signing leads the Terriers’ goalscoring charts with eight, six of which have come in the Premier League.
His first two were on debut in a 3-0 win at Crystal Palace and his other league strikes have been equally important in clinching precious victories against West Bromwich Albion, Bournemouth and Brighton.
If Town are to seal a league double over the Eagles today, Mounie is again likely to be a key figure.
So it is to be hoped the Benin international will this morning once again tuck into what has, since moving across the English Channel from Ligue One last summer, become a big breakfast favourite.
“Since coming to Huddersfield I have learned a lot about the English culture and the English food,” said the 23-year-old to The Yorkshire Post with a smile. “Also the way of life.
“In France we are used to eating much later. But here you eat really early at 6pm. That was strange at first, but now I eat at 6pm.
“The food was also different. I wasn’t used to eating the eggs with beans, but now I do that some days.
“Porridge is another thing. The first time I had porridge in England I found it very nice. I have it all the time now.
“It has helped my goalscoring, it gives me energy and some strength.”
This is an important game. It is not the end of the season, of course, but it is important and everyone knows that.Huddersfield Town’s Steve Mounie
This last comment might bag Mounie a few free boxes of porridge oats from the producers.
His words must also hearten Huddersfield fans ahead of a potentially season-defining fixture for their club.
Victory would leave Town seven points clear of third-bottom Palace with seven games remaining. In a league where every point has to be scrapped over such a gap would be difficult to bridge.
“This is an important game,” added Mounie. “It is not the end of the season, of course, but it is important and everyone knows that.
“Our last few games (Town face Arsenal, Manchester City and Chelsea in the final four weeks) mean we know we have to win some games before then. It will be very tough to win these three last games so we all know that we have to take points before that.”
Mounie’s goal tally would stand at nine for the season, but for the Premier League’s ‘Dubious Goals Panel’.
He looked to have scored twice in February’s 4-1 win over Bournemouth only for his second half ‘strike’ to be put down later as an own goal by Steve Cook. The ruling seemed harsh not least because Mounie’s performance had warranted a brace as reward.
The man himself is, for a striker, unusually calm about having the ‘goal’ chalked off.
Mounie added: “At the end of the game I thought I had scored this goal. But then, maybe one day after, someone told me, ‘No, you didn’t score this goal’.
“So I was a little bit disappointed, but the most important thing was the victory. It is still a goal for the team even if it is not for me. We won 4-1 so that is good for the team.
“This also happens in France. It happened to Neymar (for Paris St Germain) on the same weekend. Those are the rules. If the rules say my shot wasn’t on target then it is no problem. I didn’t score.”
Such a fair-minded attitude may not quite chime with the usual perception of strikers as a selfish breed, almost willing to sell their own grandmother for a few more goals.
But there can be no doubting Mounie’s growing influence on Huddersfield over the season.
The debut double at Selhurst Park actually masked a start that saw the striker struggle to adapt to the rigours of the Premier League.
A heel injury sustained in the September defeat to West Ham United did not help, but, even so, the ever-willing Laurent Depoitre rightly usurped Mounie as David Wagner’s first choice striker for a time.
The arrival of Alex Pritchard, however, has helped change that with the £10m January signing from Norwich City quickly becoming the perfect foil for Mounie.
“I never felt it was too difficult for me,” said Mounie when asked about those early struggles to adapt. “I chose to come to England and wanted to learn the new language, this new culture.
“Nothing was too difficult, even when I was injured. That is just part of football.
“For me it was nothing out of the ordinary and not something that made me want to leave. Plus, it is now in the past. All that matters is the future.”
That future, Mounie hopes, will involve more Premier League football in Town colours next season as his growing impact in the English top flight continues to catch the eye in his home country of Benin and also France, where he spent the previous three years with Nimes and Montpellier.
He added: “When I scored on my debut it was big news in France and Benin. In France, some players have come here and struggled in England. (Former Newcastle United midfielder) Remy Cabella, players like this.
“So I was very proud of myself to start like I did (with the two goals) at Crystal Palace. I wanted to show to France, ‘Okay, he has gone to England and he has got some success’.
“If I scored in Ligue One everyone knew in both countries. Premier League is the same, but it is also big news in England, too. Of course people, when they see you sign in the Premier League, their mind changes.
“They see you a little bit different to the one who played in Ligue One.
“But I am still a young player and still have time to improve.”