Marshall can be one of the greats

PUBLISHED: 15:25 05 July 2007 | UPDATED: 10:22 14 September 2010

DAVID CUFFLEY

David Marshall has been backed to book a place in City's goalkeeping hall of fame after finally completing his long-awaited move from Celtic. The Canaries have paid their biggest ever fee for a 'keeper - undisclosed but believed to be close to £1m - for 22-year-old Marshall, who played five matches on loan to the club last season.

David Marshall has been backed to book a place in City's goalkeeping hall of fame after finally completing his long-awaited move from Celtic.

The Canaries have paid their biggest ever fee for a 'keeper - undisclosed but believed to be close to £1m - for 22-year-old Marshall, who played five matches on loan to the club last season.

And manager Peter Grant immediately predicted that the Scotland international would be every bit as big a success as his modern day predecessors between the posts - if not bigger.

Grant is certain Marshall will prove the best in the Championship next season.

“There is a great tradition of top quality goalkeepers here if you look at the ones with the top appearances,” said Grant. “It's up to David to try and achieve that. He has that quality, he's young enough.

“I think David can be a top goalkeeper for many, many years to come and I know he's capable of playing in the Premier League.”

Marshall was born in the same month City won the Milk Cup in 1985, when Chris Woods was a fixture in the No 1 shirt. Woods, Bryan Gunn and Robert Green all gained full international recognition with the Canaries, and Grant has seen all three in their prime. And he rates Marshall, capped twice by his country, just as highly.

He said: “I worked with Robert Green as a young boy. I worked with him at West Ham for a short period.

“I was here with Gunny and I've known Gunny for a long time. I've seen Chris Woods play at Rangers, playing against him, and I know his qualities.

“I think David's right up there among them and I think given time, he could probably overtake them all.

“He's right up there with them and that was the reason I pursued him.

“The quality of the ones you have mentioned has been fantastic. I think David's more than capable of achieving even greater things. I think he's got all the qualities.”

Marshall was less inclined to sing his own praises, but is quietly confident he can maintain City's fine goalkeeping tradition, which stretches back decades before he was born.

He said: “I speak to Bryan Gunn, he's still involved with the club and I know how much of a legend he is here and up in Scotland.

“Robert Green has done great to get in the England squad, so to follow them is hard - it's a challenge as well. But I don't look at it that I have to follow in their footsteps. I'll just get my head down, work hard and hopefully do as well as I can.

“There is a lot of competition for places with Matty Gilks coming in and Paul Gallacher still here, but a settled goalkeeper would be good for the club.”

Marshall's arrival, following last week's capture of Gilks on a free transfer from Rochdale, ends any thought of a return to Norwich for Tony Warner - on loan from Fulham at the end of last season - while a recall for Gallacher now looks remote.

Said Grant: “Tony did exceptionally well at the end of the season. Everybody remembers the last goal of the season that he conceded but, for me, his performances were outstanding and he was very much at the forefront of what I was going to do.

“But there was always a thing in the back of my mind that I went for David. I just feel he's got the qualities to be a top-quality 'keeper and I know when we get back to the Premier League he's more than capable of playing in it.

“There are not many 'keepers better than him anywhere and I'm surprised we've got him as easily as we have.”

City had the advantage that Marshall was contracted to them until the end of June under the terms of his loan from Celtic.

“People couldn't speak to him because he was contracted to me,” said Grant. “They couldn't talk to him. I was paying his wages and that gave me the run on it. Yes, it was drawn out with Celtic but David had made it known he wanted to come here which made me pursue it.

“We finally got there and I'm grateful to the club for giving me the finances to back it. And I think we'll see in the time to come it will be money well spent.”

Grant paid tribute to Gallacher, despite dropping him three times last season.

He said: “It was difficult for Gall because he must have thought I had a lack of confidence, not selecting him. Even when he kept a clean sheet, I wasn't picking him.

“That was hurting me a little bit because his attitude was magnificent every time he trained and every time he played. Even now, right through the summertime, even though he knows I've been interested in goalkeepers, he's been first-class. I'm disappointed for him as an individual. Hopefully something can work for him as well.

“I've spoken to Paul. Paul knows the situation. I've kept him up to speed with everything, right from day one. When I changed it, even with the Tony Warner situation, his attitude has been fantastic. He's worked his socks off through the summer, he's looking fantastically well and we'll see how things go for him during this period.”

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