All those hours with the pencil, the pad and the well-thumbed phrase book are clearly working for David Strihavka as he confidently – if briefly – held court with the Press after his match-winning efforts against Crystal Palace yesterday.
Grabbing your first goal in English football clearly helps. The fact that it proved to be the winner on an afternoon when the Canaries could ill-afford another slip on home soil merely widened the grin on the 24-year-old's face.
“I'm so happy with my first goal – it's so important for me,” said Strihavka, as he reflected on that sharp, 75th minute header that proved all the difference this weekend.
“And this is very important for the team – a most important victory today,” he added.
It has been a difficult start for the 6ft 2in striker. With a mere smattering of English to his name before this summer's ?800,000 switch to a new country, a lingering throat infection coupled to Chris Brown's eye-catching summer ensured that chances have proved hard to come by since his big-money move from Banik Ostrava.
Locked at 0-0 and with the luckless Brown have just skied his best chance of the match over the bar to continue his barren goal run, Strihavka's 62nd minute arrival yesterday was a big opportunity – one that he duly took with both hands.
Or rather took with a big forehead as he reacted smartly to Dion Dublin's header back across the face of the Eagles' goal.
“It has been difficult,” he said. “Last week I was ill, but today I felt very, very good.
“But the last 30 minutes was very difficult – high tempo. But I'm so happy with my first goal for Norwich.”
His conversational abilities have clearly improved – no longer is everyone forced to ask the way to the beach in loud, slow tones.
“I'm teaching myself – by watching television, listening to the radio, talking with the guys in the changing room. It is better; it is better.”
He would appear to be settling in well – certainly the reaction of his team-mates to that first goal in Norwich colours suggested a popular lad. Everyone has been impressed by the manner in which he has tackled the language issue head-on.
“I'm enjoying England,” said Strihavka, with Norfolk's green and pleasant land likely to be a distinct change from Ostrava – the steel and coal capital of Silesia.
“I like England; I like Norwich; I'm so happy,” he said simply.
Grant had his own take on Strihavka's command of the English language. “When you say: 'Well done!' he understand, when you say: 'Rubbish!' he doesn't!” said the City chief, all smiles after yesterday's big victory.
“To be fair, he's getting there,” added Grant. “He's been working really, really hard at that. He goes about with a phrase book every day – he's always got that by his side.
“And the boys have been very, very good with him. Because we had so many new signings, it was like a family in the hotel and they've all been good with him,” said Grant, not the first City manager to thank his playing staff for the manner in which they make new players welcome.
“I'm very fortunate – they're a lovely bunch of boys here and they've made it easier for me.
“Because sometimes it is difficult. People can be isolated, but they've been very, very good with him. Simple things like taking him out for dinner – or inviting him round for dinner.
“And that's been very, very important to him being part of the group. And I think they can see the abilities that he's got – I think they've seen that from day one when he came in for pre-season training.
“So, all in all, very pleased. to have got the three points and for him to have scored the winning goal.”
On the back of those 13 goals in the Czech top flight last season, there had been talk of an international call-up – not to mention interest from such recognised European heavyweights club-wise as Red Star Belgrade and Olympiakos.
The Czechs all but booked their place in next summer's Euro2008 finals with last week's 1-0 Group D win over the Republic of Ireland. Four days earlier and a 3-0 away win over minnows San Marino had seen Jan Koller bag his latest international strike.
But the giant Borussia Dortmund striker is now 34 – whether he has another big tournament in him is the intriguing question. The Czechs also have the small matter of a local derby against Slovakia to look forward to in November. At just 24, Strihavka certainly has age on his side – if he can now use Saturday's first goal as a springboard to bigger and better things who knows what next summer might bring.
“That was one of the reasons that we looked at him because, at the time, over there they were talking about Koller the big 6ft 7in boy and how David was going to be a sort of replacement for him – but a different type of replacement.
“So that's how highly they regard him over there. And I was suprised that I got the opportunity to get him.”
Grant puts that down to the fact that Strihavka was keen to repay the club that first expressed an interest; you could, equally, claim that this was an occasion when Norfolk's geography actually worked to the club's advantage for once.
It might be two and a bit hours to the flesh-pots of the West End of London, but as far as Strihavka was concerned from his vantage point in the middle of the coalfields of Silesia, Norwich City Football Club was sat slap, bang on the doorstep of the English Premiership.
“I think it was because so much work had gone it to it previously,” said Grant, as he and his scouting team flew to Eastern Europe on a regular basis.
“We knew that there was clubs interested, but because we'd let it known early that we'd be very much interested in taking him in the summer-time.
“And to be fair to the kid three or four clubs – top clubs, I would say – were also interested, but he said that you're the ones that have shown the interest for longest and that's what I'm going to do.
“And that's great credit to the kid. He's 24 years of age and he knows what he's capable of achieving – he knows he's capable of getting to the next level.”