April 23 2014 Latest news:
Tuesday, July 31, 2012
Chris Hughton played a dead bat to questions over who will captain Norwich City this season, when asked if striker Grant Holt would be given the armband again after signing a new deal.
“It’s something I will very much make the players aware of first but he has settled very, very quickly,” he said. “He stated at the time that for him it was always about securing a deal for his family and there was nobody happier when he signed that contract.
“We’re delighted to have him settled back very, very quickly and we look forward to seeing him scoring goals.
“A captain will be given an armband for lots of different reasons.
“It can be somebody who has a certain influence in the team, and has a certain quality as a player, a different type of individual. I’m always one that’s felt you should have 11 captains on the park but the captain, he tends to be the spokesman of the team, the one that you send out. I think there are lot of potential captains here and that’s what you want.
“Because one person has the armband doesn’t make him so much different to the others.”
Hughton goes into his first home match as Norwich City manager tonight – relishing the chance for his players to take on Continental opposition.
The Canaries face reigning Dutch champions Ajax Amsterdam at Carrow Road (7.45pm) in one of only two home fixtures in their seven-match pre-season programme.
City had one taste of foreign opponents when they were beaten 3-2 by Hertha Berlin in their first warm-up match in Austria 10 days ago, but have since registered away wins over Celtic and Peterborough United without conceding a goal.
It puts Hughton and his players in good heart as they prepare to take on the four-times European champions on home territory.
“All of these games I’m very much looking forward to, and this one firstly because it is a home game at Carrow Road, but also because it is Ajax,” said Hughton.
“They won their own domestic championship so their name is back on top where a lot of people feel they belong. They’re certainly the biggest club in Holland and the biggest name and we’re really looking forward to it.”
Frank de Boer’s team have already played seven pre-season games, including a 4-0 win over Celtic, and a second-half goal from Armenia international midfielder Aras Ozbiliz gave them a 1-0 victory over Premier League new arrivals Southampton at St Mary’s Stadium on Saturday.
Hughton expects a different kind of test to that posed by domestic opponents.
He said: “They play a different type of game. Even in the Premier League here you will get teams playing 4-3-3 at times and different systems, but it tends to be a high energy game, full of good technical and physical players.
“I think with the Dutch it’s always been about the system they play. They try to work the holes very well and they can exploit you, they make themselves very difficult to mark with the systems they play, so that will certainly be a good test for us.
“We’re at home, it’s certainly a nice occasion. They don’t come much bigger than Ajax and it will be one all the players will look forward to.”
New signings Robert Snodgrass and Michael Turner could be involved at some stage tonight, but Hughton still has absentees in defender Steven Whittaker, who is likely to be out for at least another week while his ankle injury is assessed, and midfield trio David Fox, Jacob Butterfield and Tom Adeyemi.
Ajax will be without Icelandic striker Kolbeinn Sigthórsson, who has returned home for treatment on a back injury.
The Canaries last faced Ajax at Carrow Road 10 years ago, when they went down 1-0 to a goal from Zlatan Ibrahimovic, still playing a starring role for Sweden at the Euro 2012 finals earlier this summer.
For defender Ryan Bennett, who has helped City to clean sheets in the last two friendlies, the Dutch challenge is one to relish.
He said: “Against Celtic we defended well. We’ve got Ajax, another tough game, everybody knows about them. But we’re a Premier League side and we can deal with anything that’s thrown at us, so it’s up to us to go and show that.”