Defence the key – Marshall

PUBLISHED: 07:00 05 July 2007 | UPDATED: 10:22 14 September 2010

CHRIS LAKEY

David Marshall says stability at the back is vital to Norwich City's ambitions next season.

The 22-year-old was one of five goalkeepers to appear in City's colours last season, but has been brought back by manager Peter Grant on a permanent basis in an attempt to end the chaos between the sticks.

David Marshall says stability at the back is vital to Norwich City's ambitions next season.

The 22-year-old was one of five goalkeepers to appear in City's colours last season, but has been brought back by manager Peter Grant on a permanent basis in an attempt to end the chaos between the sticks.

"I had a season like that up at Celtic when Martin O'Neill was there and there were a lot of keepers and it doesn't do anybody any favours, especially the back four," said Marshall.

"There is obviously some competition for places with Matty (Gilks) coming in and Paul (Gallacher), but a settled goalkeeper will be great for the club.

"Everybody aims for two players in each position at any club so that does no harm, but to get a settled team helps everybody."

It's been nearly five months since Marshall last donned a City shirt - the day he twisted his ankle at Chelsea - but while the ankle ligament damage he suffered put him out of the game, it didn't put him off a return to Carrow Road, even though he worried that Grant might have a rethink.

"Obviously the medical team at Norwich knew what happened and maybe the gaffer would ask whether I was worth the risk," said Marshall. "But it feels fine now. I have been fit since the end of April, the first week in May, so it is no problem."

A City offer to Celtic was followed by a transfer request from the player, and although Hoops boss Gordon Strachan offered him a new contract with the proviso that he wait for an opening, Marshall was not prepared for another season watching Artur Boruc claim the number one shirt.

Once the figures had been worked out, Marshall was Grant's - to their mutual relief.

"I think it's been drawn out since I did my injury," Marshall said. "I thought in the back of my mind I would always end up here, it was just getting around to that.

"When I came on loan in the first place I obviously wanted games. I didn't see it as coming on loan for six months to go back to sit on the bench at Celtic, so even before I came I had made my mind up I wanted to play.

"When I came down to see the training ground and obviously played here it was great. I had a great time, the fans were great, it's a great set-up. Obviously we didn't do too well last season, but I feel we have good enough players here and players coming in to help us get to the Premiership."

So what was the big pull southwards?

"I think obviously the crowd - it was full. We were not doing too well last season and the stadium was packed, which was great," Marshall said.

"The other thing is the football, I really enjoyed the football. In Scotland I hadn't been playing at Celtic, especially home games, basically not doing much, so here it was end to end stuff. I just enjoyed the football and I'm pleased to come here."

Marshall broke into the Celtic first team as a 19-year-old, going on to play 49 times.

His full debut was against mighty Barcelona in a UEFA Cup match at the Nou Camp, where Marshall kept a clean sheet to send the Scottish giants through to the next round 1-0.

The following season Marshall faced Barca again, and again they couldn't get past him - Brazilian superstar Ronaldhino seeing Marshall save a penalty which helped to a 1-0 home win.

But when Martin O'Neill left Celtic, Marshall was pushed out of the first team frame, playing second fiddle to Polish international Boruc. When Grant called, Marshall had no hesitation in trying pastures new.

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