Bertrand a real team player

PUBLISHED: 11:46 27 September 2008 | UPDATED: 15:47 10 September 2010

On-loan Chelsea defender Ryan Bertrand doesn’t mind where he plays, just as long as he's in the thick of the action. Photo: Paul Hewitt

On-loan Chelsea defender Ryan Bertrand doesn’t mind where he plays, just as long as he's in the thick of the action. Photo: Paul Hewitt

David Cuffley

Ryan Bertrand has no doubts about his preferred position in the Norwich City line-up - but is happy for his versatility to be put to the test in the weeks ahead.

Ryan Bertrand has no doubts about his preferred position in the Norwich City line-up - but is happy for his versatility to be put to the test in the weeks ahead.

The on-loan Chelsea left-back was pushed forward into a wide midfield role for last Saturday's 1-0 home win over Sheffield United while Adam Drury played his first Championship game for 11 months at full-back.

It had been anticipated that the two men would battle it out for the left-back role after Bertrand returned to Carrow Road in the summer on a loan deal running until January 1.

But manager Glenn Roeder found a way to accommodate both players against the Blades, arguing: “It just made sense. We look physically stronger and defensively more sound with Adam Drury at left-back and Ryan Bertrand playing in front of him.”

The 19-year-old from Southwark admitted: “I prefer playing at the back and getting forward rather than being there already, but I'll play anywhere for the team.

“I think last year it worked quite well with me playing in front of Mo Camara and it kept our side more solid, so the right side can attack more. But I prefer playing left-back.”

Bertrand accepts that the kind of competition he faces with 30-year-old Drury can only be healthy, especially if it's repeated across the whole team.

He said: “It can only be positive for the team. If one of us is playing well, he should play and vice-versa. But it's good that everyone's got competition for places.

“That's what the manager's got in the team. Everyone is capable of playing in at least two positions. They can do a job in another position as well as their own and in some cases three.

“If we have somebody out through injury we have someone who is capable enough to slot into their position.”

Bertrand said victory over the Blades meant there was new confidence in the squad as the Canaries, in 11th place, prepared for two away games in the space of four days - today's trip to Barnsley (3pm) and Tuesday night's game at Southampton.

He said: “We're much more confident that we can go on and win instead of keep drawing. It's the highest we've been but I hope we can keep going and get even higher.

“There are a few teams in false places but I'm sure that will pan out towards the end.

“I hope we can get the six points - it's easier said than done - but if we keep our performances as they have been over the last few weeks we should get the results we need.”

Roeder had centre-back Dejan Stefanovic available again for today's game after missing the Sheffield United match with a calf injury. Midfielder Matty Pattison and striker Arturo Lupoli, both substituted against the Blades because of hamstring trouble, were also expected to be fit.

Injured trio John Kennedy (ankle), Sammy Clingan (shoulder) and David Bell (ankle) could all be fit for the first game after the international break, at Bristol City in three weeks' time. But it means Clingan will miss Northern Ireland's World Cup qualifying games against Slovenia on October 11 and San Marino on October 15.

Central defender Gary Doherty, out of action since the tour of Sweden after ankle surgery, could return to the City squad in November.

“Doc's going the right way,” said Roeder. “He's running now and we're keeping his fitness levels as high as we can.

He's in good shape, Doc. I think he's lost a reasonable amount of weight. Normally players in a long-term injury can put a little bit of weight on but we've kept Doc's schedule really tight.”

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