Norwich City’s Elliott Bennett takes his chance to shine in FA Cup tie
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Elliott Bennett may have found first team opportunities hard to come by this season but he isn’t about to start complaining.
The 24-year-old played a starring role in the Canaries’ 3-0 win at Peterborough in the FA Cup to seal a fourth round tie at home to Luton and the former Brighton man was delighted to remind manager Chris Hughton of the qualities he can offer.
Bennett admitted to a degree of frustration so far this season at starting only three matches in the Premier League but showed he is ready and willing when the manager calls upon his services.
“There are times when you get disappointed – it is frustrating when you don’t play but you’ve just got to get on with it,” he said. “Sometimes I look at myself in the mirror and think there are other people who are a lot worse off than me.
“There are people going to work at all hours of the morning and I’m still tucked in bed. It’s true – it’s disappointing when you don’t play but sometimes you just have to look at it and think ‘I’ve got the opportunity to play football – how lucky am I?’”
Bennett admitted he is not the sort of player to keep knocking on Hughton’s door demanding to know why he isn’t in the side. He has been patiently waiting for his chance and after a lively display as a substitute in the defeat at West Ham, was handed his full opportunity against the Championship side on Saturday.
“It’s about being professional – we are all very lucky to be in the position we are as footballers,” he added. “Who are we to go around moaning with a face on? I’m at a Premier League football club. There are other players that aren’t playing but we get the opportunity to train every day and it’s an environment you want to be in.
“You can’t moan too much – it is frustrating when you’re not in the team but you’ve got to bide your time, be patient, and then you’ve got to take your opportunities.”
Bennett certainly grabbed his chance at London Road with Peterborough unable to handle his movement just off striker Simeon Jackson. His 30th-minute goal capped a fine display as City strolled past Darren Ferguson’s side to further expose the gulf between the Premier League and the second tier of English football.
“It was a really good performance – I thought we controlled the game,” he said. “The third goal is always crucial and thankfully we managed to get it.
“We just had to match the workrate and the effort of Peterborough really. We knew they were a high energy team. That’s what we like to do and we managed to match it and thankfully our quality shone through.
“We kept possession really well – I thought Foxy and Johnno controlled the game for us. That gave us a platform to work from.
“I think the lads that have come in today have all done well and you’ve people like Snoddy (Robert Snodgrass) who have had a lot of games and showed his quality. He has scored a goal and shown his quality as well.”
With City taking 5,000 supporters to see their side embark on the road to Wembley, the match almost had a home feel to it as the Peterborough faithful grew more disillusioned by their side’s toothless display.
Simeon Jackson’s cool finish before the break effectively ended the tie and Robert Snodgrass’ second-half strike put a gloss on the scoreline that City’s display merited.
Bennett believes the bumper away support helped him and his team-mates exert their authority on the match.
“Taking 5,000 fans to an away game is unbelievable,” he said. “I’m sure we sent them home happy today. I think it helped – it’s just brilliant we’ve been able to go out there and impress the manager.”