Steven Whittaker admits it’s been a frustrating first season for him at Carrow Road – but plans to start afresh for his second crack at the Premier League.

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Injuries at key times plagued the Scot’s first season at Norwich City following his move from financially crippled Glasgow Rangers, as a pre-season ankle knock at Celtic curtailed his involvement from the start of the season.

And while Whittaker was a key part in City’s superb 10-game unbeaten league run, a back injury in December put him back on the sidelines and left him battling for game time right up to the final match of the campaign.

“When I first joined, I sustained an injury in pre-season and missed the first few weeks of the campaign – and when I got into the team I played about 12 games in a row and that coincided with a good spell,” said Whittaker.

“That was a great time and I felt things were starting to get on to the right track. But then I suffered another injury which kept me out for a month and I wasn’t able to get back into the startling line-up as often as I wanted to after returning.

“I had a couple of games, but I was champing at the bit. The defence was doing all right, though, and the manager didn’t want to change.

Towards the end of the season, perhaps you could say I was little frustrated at not playing more, but you have to look at the standard of player around and understand. I’m just looking to get a solid pre-season next term and start afresh.”

Before Whittaker takes his summer break and readies himself for the Canaries, he is aiming to finish the season on a relative high with Scotland. Gordon Strachan’s men travel to Zagreb to face group leaders Croatia in their World Cup qualifier on Friday, desperate to put right suggestions the current Scotland group is among the worst in the country’s history.

“Even when I was at Rangers I can recall we were branded the worst team ever,” he told The Scotsman. “In my five years there, we won three SPL titles, two Scottish Cups and a CIS Cup, yet that is what we were still branded. To me, it’s just all hearsay. We all know that we are capable on our day.”

We’ve shown that at our clubs.

“It is just about trying to get it all together and putting it on to the same page when we go away with Scotland. We definitely have players who are capable of going on to the international stage and performing well.”

12 comments

  • Btw, should that headline read "leave" rather than "lead"? Or should it read "lead to"?

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    Mad Brewer

    Wednesday, June 5, 2013

  • I honestly can`t remember, Oz, but it could well have been. I like the mobile style of full-back like Ashley Cole. Our `Cafu` doesn`t do too badly!

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    Mad Brewer

    Wednesday, June 5, 2013

  • Mikel, if he is past his injury plague, I`m sure he`ll play a part in the squad next season. Difficult to see why Russell Martin should make way, though. Hoots did play Whits in that "purple patch" but, sadly, more injuries. I think Russ made way at RB but was needed at CB some of the time anyway. Not a bad squad of defenders, bar needing, maybe, a competing LB?

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    Mad Brewer

    Wednesday, June 5, 2013

  • I think Whittaker has become an out and out squad player now as his fitness levels cannot be relied on week in week out. Certainly Martin is our most solid performer in defence at the present time and shouldn't make way for anybody. Ive recently watched our last two matches again on tape just to have gloat really, but it confirmed to me that Ryan Bennett is developing into a very good player and I think he will play a big part in our defence next season.

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    VictorM

    Thursday, June 6, 2013

  • I rate Whittaker v highly. He is more comfortable on the ball than any of out other defenders (with the possible exception of RM) and likes to get forward. I think he is one trick that CH has missed so far.

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    MikelSA

    Wednesday, June 5, 2013

  • Maybe he could have played more than 14 games then? But it would`ve been hard to shift Cafu from RB - except when he was needed at CB (which, he says, is where he prefers to play). It would seem Whits is strong with both feet and there`s no doubt he`s a classy player. So compete for LB, as suggested elsewhere? Or even left\right midfield? Subject to staying injury-free, of course.

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    Mad Brewer

    Wednesday, June 5, 2013

  • MB. Rodwell, I believe.

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    zebbee

    Wednesday, June 5, 2013

  • Brewer personally I thought he lacked a bit of pace and looked a bit vulnerable in certain games. If we're to kick on we need at least 5 quality players to improve the squad and cover injuries.

    Report this comment

    Oz Canary

    Wednesday, June 5, 2013

  • Brewer, I think it was the second goal against Man City where their winger just ran past him?

    Report this comment

    Oz Canary

    Wednesday, June 5, 2013

  • Martin, Ayala, Bennett, Barnett, Turner, Bassong, Garrido, Whittaker- That takes care of the back eight. Johndson midfield and Wollffewinkel up front. More clean sheets than a laundry.

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    Pondlife

    Thursday, June 6, 2013

  • Yes, Oz, I remember a TV highlight which showed him being badly outpaced by somebody - forgotten who. He seemed to be treading treacle, I put it down to lack of match-fitness @ the time. I don`t think we`ve really seen enough of him to be sure. As it is "Cafu" is a safe pair of feet.

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    Mad Brewer

    Wednesday, June 5, 2013

  • 8-1-1 then, Pondy? Still think a hendecagon formation of 11 goalies is worthy of consideration; 11-0-0. One nominated `keeper allowed to handle outside the area. Offside if further out than the front edge of the `D`.

    Report this comment

    Mad Brewer

    Friday, June 7, 2013

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