City midfielder Vrancic desperate to reclaim influential role after his first Premier League start

Mario Vrancic made his first Premier League start as Norwich City lost 2-1 at home to Sheffield United 
Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

Mario Vrancic made his first Premier League start as Norwich City lost 2-1 at home to Sheffield United Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

Paul Chesterton

After finally making his first Premier League start, Mario Vrancic is determined to reclaim his influential role for Norwich City.

The 30-year-old Bosnia & Herzegovina international saw his pre-season wrecked by a calf injury and then missed almost two months after a reoccurrence of that problem.

Following three appearances as a substitute the midfielder, who scored 10 goals in 36 Championship games last season, played 80 minutes of Sunday's 2-1 home defeat to Sheffield United. After a bright first half his performance - along with City's overall - may have tailed off but he is determined to become a top-flight regular.

"It felt great. I quite enjoyed it, until we conceded the two goals!" said Vrancic. "Obviously I'm pleased that I could start a game and hopefully there are many games that are following now.

"It's part of the game when you are injured. You miss playing football and I will try my best to contribute, to influence the game and give my best to help the team and the manager."

Vrancic has 76 appearances in the German top tier on his CV, scoring eight goals across three successive seasons, suffering relegation with Paderborn and Darmstadt, although he did help the latter stay up in 2016.

"It's a different style," he said of the Bundesliga. "In Germany it's much more tactical, it's a bit more wild here, more tempo, more speed.

"Nothing against the Bundesliga, it's a great league, but the quality here is much higher."

The Canaries and Vrancic are set for a taste of that high quality again when they travel to in-form Leicester on Saturday, who have won their last eight games to keep some pressure on runaway leaders Liverpool.

The Foxes have the best defensive record in the division and top players including Jamie Vardy, Ben Chilwell and Youri Tielemans - as well as City's former star James Maddison, who was signed for an initial £21m after his player-of-the-season campaign in 2017-18.

"They have a great team," Vrancic added. "A few great players and obviously my former team-mate James Maddison is in great shape.

"We've got to analyse their strengths and try to gain points there."

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