Barnett wants to extend stay at Norwich City
Defender Leon Barnett underlined his desire to stay with Norwich City after his first goal for the club gave them a richly-deserved Championship point against Leeds United.
The 24-year-old centre-back headed home David Fox’s corner for a 65th-minute equaliser in front of the Canaries’ biggest home gate for more than 21 years.
Barnett’s loan from West Bromwich Albion runs out on January 4 but manager Paul Lambert would like him to stay – a feeling that is mutual.
“I think it’s nice to be loved and if someone wants to take interest in you,” said Barnett.
“But at the moment I’ve not heard anything and I have to wait until January and see what happens. I don’t know what’s going on.”
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A permanent deal or a loan extension would be a major boost for City after the success of Barnett’s defensive partnership with Elliott Ward.
Asked if he would like to say, Barnett said: “I think I’d be stupid not to. There are a lot of players who would love to come to Norwich and I’m one of them, so it’s a possibility but we have to wait until January.
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“It’s a great feeling and this is a massive team and we’re going in the right direction.”
Lambert has spoken to Albion about Barnett, but knows he will need City’s financial backing and Albion’s approval to get his man.
“You are in a Catch 22 - you either don’t try it and he goes back and you accept mediocrity, which I don’t want to accept,” said Lambert.
“He is West Brom’s player so they call the shots, but we will try.”
Barnett’s goal cancelled out Max Gradel’s 13th-minute opener for Leeds.
“I thought he was excellent,” said Lambert. “I think Leon Barnett has been huge for us and his goal was terrific and well deserved.”
Barnett, who has made 15 appearances for City since his loan began in August, said: “It’s nice to get a goal finally. Some of the boys were saying it’s about time I scored. I was a bit frustrated not to get the win.”
Leeds protested about a foul by Chris Martin on goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel but Barnett said: “I just saw the ball come to me and I’ve headed it and it’s in the back of the net. The referee didn’t give anything so it’s a fair goal.
“That’s our fourth draw in a row and again it’s taken us a goal to get started. If we can get that first goal and try to let teams attack us and maybe hit them on the break, it would be nice.
“As a team we’re a bit frustrated to have to start a goal down and work hard in the second half. We just need that cutting edge and maybe need to put away more of our chances.”
Barnett can now look forward to the East Anglian derby at home to Ipswich on Sunday, two days before his 25th birthday.
The only cloud on the horizon is the risk of suspension after collecting his fourth yellow card of the season against Leeds.