Canaries come first for Rehman

PUBLISHED: 12:01 09 February 2006 | UPDATED: 09:12 14 September 2010

It's a case of club before country for on-loan Norwich City defender Zesh Rehman, who must concentrate on digging his new employers out of their current hole rather than furthering his international career.

It's a case of club before country for on-loan Norwich City defender Zesh Rehman, who must concentrate on digging his new employers out of their current hole rather than furthering his international career.

Rehman - man of the match on his City debut against Ipswich on Sunday - has not been named in Pakistan's Asian Cup squad after making his competitive debut for the land of his parents' birth in the 2005 SAFF Championship in Karachi.

Pakistan coach Salman Ahmed Sharida was taking the squad to his native Bahrain today to prepare for their opening Asian Cup 2007 Group C qualifying match against Jordan, which takes place in Amman on February 22.

City manager Nigel Worthington breathed a sigh of relief with Rehman spared a gruelling trip to the Middle East.

Rehman will now be able to give the forthcoming Norwich matches against Hull, Brighton, Derby and Crystal Palace his full and undivided attention.

“Pakistan chose their players carefully from around Europe and are very sensible with the way they go about things,” he said.

“That is good news for Norwich City - and I think Zesh is quite pleased as well, in as much as he can now concentrate on playing here and doesn't have to travel all over the place.

“There is no way we would have wanted to lose him for this game but we are bound by FIFA relegations and there is nothing we could have done if he had been selected because it is a competitive fixture.”

Meanwhile, Jason Shackell, who made his first Championship appearance for more than four months as a substitute against Ipswich at the weekend, will be hoping for another chance to impress at Hull on Saturday, especially as Craig Fleming has a hip injury and Simon Charlton is suspended for one jatch.

Shackell is now hopeful that the ankle injury he sustained in a reserve fixture back in October is finally behind him.

“It was brilliant. I loved every second,” said the big centre-half, who got his taste of derby action when Fleming went off midway through the second period.

“That's what I have been working towards for the past four or five months. It was a good 20 minutes. I was gutted about the result and it was horrible to concede, but we have got to bounce back and look forward to Hull.”

Shackell will certainly be looking to make up for lost time after a frustrating spell on the sidelines which started a couple of weeks before he picked up the first serious injury of his career.

The arrival of Tottenham's Calum Davenport on a three-month loan saw him lose his place in the first team so he already faced a tough battle to regain his place in Nigel Worthington's team when he fell awkwardly in a reserve game against Watford on October 3 and damaged ankle ligaments.

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