Bertrand is grateful for expert help
PUBLISHED: 06:30 25 March 2009 | UPDATED: 16:09 10 September 2010
Ryan Bertrand has paid tribute to the man he has relegated to the Norwich City subs' bench and insisted - 'I couldn't have done it without him'. Injury-plagued Adam Drury's hopes of regaining the left-back spot where he built a reputation as Mr Consistency have been blocked by the 19-year-old's form.
Ryan Bertrand has paid tribute to the man he has relegated to the Norwich City subs' bench and insisted - “I couldn't have done it without him”.
Injury-plagued Adam Drury's hopes of regaining the left-back spot where he built a reputation as Mr Consistency have been blocked by the 19-year-old's form.
But Bertrand - on loan from Chelsea for the season - says he owes Drury a debt of gratitude and insists the rivalry couldn't be more friendly.
“I wouldn't be able to play the way I do without having sat there and watched him,” said Bertrand.
“I have learned a hell of a lot from him in the time I have been here and that has kept me in the team.
“I am always learning how to do the defensive side of things and he helps me out and gives me tips. And there's the mental side of playing football as well, he helps me there.
“There is no bad blood between any of the players and definitely not between me and Adam. It won't always be like that in football, but he's really a top man.”
Canaries boss Bryan Gunn does have the option of playing both Drury - who has struggled to shake off the aftermath of a serious knee injury which kept him out of action for almost a year - and Bertrand, depending on the opponents, but it would mean a change of role for the teenager.
“I prefer left back, that's what I am, but if we are coming up against teams where we need Crofty (Lee Croft) attacking down the right that may leave us a bit bare if we have two wingers, so I don't mind filling in in left midfield - and we have proved that me and Adam have a good partnership down the left,” Bertrand said.
The Londoner has plenty to do to match Drury's service record of more than 280 City appearances, but despite his loan status, Bertrand is almost like part of the furniture himself. Having joined City on a half-season loan last January he returned for the full campaign in the summer and has clocked up 50 league starts.
He has come through the managerial change from Glenn Roeder to Bryan Gunn unscathed and is clearly enjoying life as a Norwich City player, despite City's precarious league position.
“I don't know what the future holds for me, I just take every game as it comes and as long as I can keep on playing, especially at a club like Norwich, then it can't get any better,” said Bertrand, who heads to London with the England Under-20s for a friendly against Italy at Loftus Road next Tuesday.
“The gaffer brought Dion (Dublin) in at the weekend and he and Butts (assistant Ian Butterworth) and Crooky (coach Ian Crook) have just freshened things up, given the boys a new lease of life and everyone's feeling more confident, more relaxed to go and play their football.
“Training wise we have been more organised - Butts takes the defenders and we always train and learn well and the gaffer is always bobbing about -whether it's collecting fines or other stuff. It's a really good group they have got in there.
“Dion spoke to everyone in the dressing room at Birmingham, he said positive words, told us that we were winners and that on our day we could beat anyone, and coming from a man like him, he's been around, knows the game inside out and when he comes in he naturally gives off that presence and everyone listens. When he talks, you listen.
“And we went out and showed what the gaffer is trying to do on the training pitch. I think it is finally paying off. I think defensively we are solid - we have finally found out how to keep clean sheets and although we conceded at Birmingham one goal in three games isn't too bad.”
Bertrand insists there is one other element that is helping City rides through the storm - the supporters, around 2,000 of whom were at St Andrew's for the 1-1 draw with one of the Championship's high-flyers on Saturday
“The fans were terrific,” said Bertrand. “We walked out and we thought we were at home at first. You come out for the warm-up and you see them hanging over the edge and that and it's amazing.”