Anton Ferdinand: Grant saved my career

England Under-21 international Anton Ferdinand today hailed the impact Norwich City manager Peter Grant has had on his career.

England Under-21 international Anton Ferdinand today hailed the impact Norwich City manager Peter Grant has had on his career.

The pair worked together during Grant's time as assistant manager at Upton Park and the 22-year-old revealed that it was the Scot's influence that put him on the right path and on to international honours.

Ferdinand has been tipped by many to follow his older brother Rio into the full international squad and he insisted that he will always be grateful to Grant for pushing him and ensuring he makes the most of his talent.

“In all honesty, along with Alan Pardew, he put me on the right track because there was a time when I wasn't training as well and as properly as I should have been,” said Ferdinand.

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“In all fairness it was down to him because he was on at me every single day saying 'you've got to train better' and he's someone that is very honest and that's what you need in football.”

Ferdinand praised Grant's man-management skills and believes that the 41-year-old has got the ability to lead the Canaries back to the Premiership.

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“He can be ruthless when he needs to be but can also put an arm around you when needed, which he did for me many times,” added Ferdinand.

“He was a great help for me - told me what I needed to work on to get into the team and that's how I eventually got in.

“He has experienced it all. He has got the coaching and managerial ability to get them promoted. If you talk to a lot of the Norwich boys they will say what a nice guy he is and what a good manager he is.

“He has got a lot of respect in the game because he has done a lot in the game. He has been through it with us in promotion so he's used to the pressure of it and I'm sure he's got the ability as a manager and as a person to take them up.”

Ferdinand will be re-acquainted with his mentor tonight when City take on West Ham in a pre-season friendly at Carrow Road.

The youngster admitted that the Hammers will be using the game to fine-tune their fitness for the start of the Premiership season but revealed that he cannot wait to come up against Jamie Cureton, who he rates as one of the best strikers outside the top flight.

“I'm looking forward to playing against the likes of Jamie Cureton because his goals ratio last year was unbelievable and he showed what a great striker he is,” said Ferdinand.

“He's showed he can score goals at that level so that's a great buy for them. That's definitely one person that I'm looking forward to playing against.”

Ferdinand is hoping to use the match to cement a place at the heart of the Hammers back four but with the likes of Matthew Upson, Danny Gabbidon and James Collins as competition, he knows it won't be easy.

“I really want to start the season well and earn a place at the back. That's got to be my first goal and to get the club firing on all cylinders straight from the off. I feel much stronger than I did this time last year and I can't wait for the season to start.”

Ferdinand is also determined to force his way into the England squad and make a family dream come true by playing alongside his brother.

“That's the family's dream and it's up to me to make that come true. All I've got to do though is concentrate on West Ham United and hopefully the England call-up will come.”

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