Lambert's award well deserved says Wilkinson

Paul Lambert with his LMA Championship Manager of the Year award. Picture: Action Images / John Marsh; Livepic

Paul Lambert with his LMA Championship Manager of the Year award. Picture: Action Images / John Marsh; Livepic

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League Managers' Association chairman Howard Wilkinson believes Norwich have one of the brightest bosses in the game after Paul Lambert collected his second consecutive divisional manager-of-the-year title.

Lambert received his latest LMA award from England boss Fabio Capello at Monday’s star-studded bash in London’s Park Lane.

Wilkinson guided Leeds to the old Division Two and Division One titles along with a brief stint as England caretaker manager during a distinguished career in the dugout.

And the Yorkshireman believes Lambert’s feat in guiding Norwich into the Premier League with back-to-back promotions deserved recognition.

“The fact it is an award voted for by your peers says it all really,” said Wilkinson. “There is no-one in a better position than them to judge your true ability, to weigh up your resources, circumstances, the nature of the task.

“Of all the awards in football the one that comes as a result of your peers, like the footballers themselves, is really the ultimate rubber stamp.

“It’s another little bit of cream that comes with the hard work you put in to get Norwich where they are now.

“It’s not just how Paul has done it in getting back-to-back promotions but the manner in which he has done it.

“If you look at his history he is obviously a very thoughtful, intelligent, methodical person.

“He seems to have an excellent temperament. I think that, clearly, when he was playing he was a student of the game and now he’s an even bigger one.”

Lambert became the first manager since Joe Royle in 2000 to reach the top flight with consecutive promotions.

“The fact he has done it back-to-back is harder than winning one, not winning one and winning one again,” said Wilkinson.

“People would come out of League One and think it was time to consolidate but he has pushed on, managed to keep his players focused and motivated.

“I first came across him at a football match in Germany where we were standing in a queue waiting for our tickets. I think it was an U21 tournament.

“He was out there observing and at that point he might just have started his Pro Licence. To go and do it abroad speaks volumes because it takes courage. You can be different just for the sake of it, but being different because you think that will bring advantages is a totally different ball game.”

Lambert began his route to the Premier League by studying in Germany for his coaching badges while still a Celtic player.

“Qualifications do not make you a good coach or manager but they won’t make you a bad one,” said Wilkinson. “You are better off with them, they are the structured learning path, there are no short cuts and you learn the trial and error process.

“You can’t go through football life and not be sacked, but some get sacked more than others and allowing for the bad luck that sometimes comes around I think Paul will be around for a very long time. Put it this way, if you were trying to rate him out of ten in terms of preparation, work ethic, commitment, understanding, temperament and everything else he is going to score highly.”

Lambert admitted the personal recognition had put the seal on ‘unbelievable’ season.

“To get an award like that after last year’s is an incredible thing,” he told the club’s official site. “I just think the team’s going well and we’re doing all right and the biggest thing was to get out of the league, which we achieved and it’s an award that will be really, really nice.

“Two years on the bounce we’ve done this, back-to-back promotions are very rarely done. I think the last one was 11 years ago which is incredible. It’s just been a massive, massive season for us.

“As I’ve said though you don’t get that without the players and the staff I’ve got. It’s an award for everybody these sorts of things – and what we’ve achieved and what the lads have achieved is just incredible.”

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