Russell is reminded of himself by teen star Smith

PUBLISHED: 10:33 29 October 2009 | UPDATED: 16:40 10 September 2010

Norwich City midfielder Darel Russell aims to pass his knowledge on to Korey Smith.

Norwich City midfielder Darel Russell aims to pass his knowledge on to Korey Smith.

Jonathan Redhead

Norwich City's Darel Russell says young team-mate Korey Smith has all the attributes to go on and become a 'top' player. Midfielder Russell says the 18-year-old reminds him of himself when he first broke into the Canaries first team as an energetic and enthusiastic teenager in 1998.

Norwich City's Darel Russell says young team-mate Korey Smith has all the attributes to go on and become a 'top' player.

Midfielder Russell says the 18-year-old reminds him of himself when he first broke into the Canaries first team as an energetic and enthusiastic teenager in 1998.

Now in his second spell at Carrow Road and playing a slightly more withdrawn role under boss Paul Lambert, Russell is in the perfect position to view Smith's game following his consolidation as a first teamer this season.

And he has nothing but praise for fellow midfielder Smith who has been one of the star turns in League One for the Canaries.

“Everything I see in Korey it reminds me of myself when I first started playing,” he said.

“I've never actually said it to him but he does fully remind me of how I used to play the game and how I still have done over recent years.

“I'm really happy for him and he's doing very, very well and he's taking it all in his stride. And if he keeps going he's going to turn out to be a top player.

“Korey will come and sit down with me and come and have a talk and I'll have a talk with him if I feel there's something I need to say to him as well.

“He's ready and willing to listen and is still humble and nothing's gone to his head and he's got to keep doing what he's doing.

“I hope I'm able to impart some of my experience to him during the games and help him through them.”

Russell is also pleased with his own part in City's good recent run.

The 29-year-old has been playing as the anchor man in Lambert's diamond formation having figured as more of attacking midfielder, and occasionally a striker, during more than 240 appearances for City.

And he believes his experience as a forward thinking player is helping him flourish in his new role.

“It's something the gaffer feels is a role I can play,” he said.

“I've gone in there and I feel like I've done ok and I've enjoyed it so far. It's different for me and I said to the gaffer before it's one of those roles I haven't played much in my career, I've been more of a forward person and moving forward in the game, but it's now helping me develop another side of the game I perhaps didn't have before.

“So it's helping me to improve myself as a player and as an all-round asset to the team.

“I think I've always had the discipline to be able to do it but I've not had to exercise that discipline in the roles I have played.

“And probably playing in that advanced position, I can cut out some of the runs people make because I would have made them myself.

“It's one of those things where you've played in the opposite role almost you try and nullify the effects at the other end.”

Russell says City's current run of form owes a lot to manager Paul Lambert and his ability to get the best out of his players.

“The results have gone very well for us recently and we're enjoying them,” Russell said.

“We had a little blip against Leeds but we still put a good performance in, it was just disappointing to lose the way we did.

“I think he (Lambert) knows where everyone's strengths and weaknesses are. It shows also in knowing the strengths and weaknesses of our teams in personnel.

“We don't have many wingers, out and out wide men, so we've played a more narrow formation that's worked with the personnel we've got.

“So I think it's knowing the weaknesses and strengths and using the strengths as best you can and covering up your weaknesses.”

Despite, his pleasure at how things are going on the pitch, Russell experienced a low off it at the weekend, when his sister, Shar Alexander's, band, Miss Frank, were surprisingly knocked out of TV pop show X-Factor.

“I didn't expect I needed to go down on the Sunday to be honest,” Russell.

“I thought their performance on the Saturday was fantastic. To be honest I've been totally gutted for my sister in that situation. There's nothing more I can say.

“It's a gutting, crazy shock to me, but I hope they had enough exposure and there are enough people out there who like them and they can do something following X-Factor.”

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