Bennett out to take his chance
Winger Elliott Bennett is taking nothing for granted after being handed his ticket to the Premier League by Norwich City.
But the former Brighton forward did his chances of featuring in manager Paul Lambert’s plans for the start of the season no harm at all by scoring one superb goal and setting up another in the Canaries’ 3-0 friendly win at Coventry City.
Bennett was on the field for only the final 25 minutes at the Ricoh Arena on Saturday, but supplied the perfect cross for fellow substitute Steve Morison to head his side’s second goal, then saved the best until last when he struck the third, three minutes from time, with a 30-yard drive.
The 22-year-old, who joined City for a reported �1.5m in June, now has home games against Real Zaragoza on Wednesday and Parma on Saturday in which to further his claims for a place in the starting eleven at Wigan on the opening day of the season, but admits he has “a massive battle” on his hands.
“The club hasn’t done what it has done in the last two years without everyone doing well so I’m under no illusion that I’m just going to walk into this football team,” said Bennett.
“I’ve got to work really hard and if I get a chance, hope to take it.
“I knew from playing against Norwich when I was in League One and then watching them in the Championship that there is some unbelievable talent in the squad and I know I have a massive challenge on my hands to get into the team. It’s very tough for everyone.
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“What everyone wants to do is play at the top level in whatever sport they’re participating in. Ours is the Premier League and I’m just delighted I’ve been given the opportunity and I hope I can force my way into the team.”
Lambert’s emphasis has been on fitness rather than pre-season results and Bennett admitted the training camp in Germany had been “very hard”.
He said: “You really need a good pre-season behind you to stay fit, going into a league where it’s a little bit fitter, little bit faster, and everyone’s just relishing the chance.
“Everyone’s trying to get fit and I am happy the gaffer put me on today to build my fitness up for the coming season.
“You can’t wait for the season to start but you need to do these things to get fit and game time can only help you. You can’t replicate this on the training ground so everyone wants to get on and build their fitness up.”
Bennett was modest about his goal, which brought an appreciative reaction from the Canaries’ travelling fans in a meagre crowd.
“A few people made some really good runs off me and the gap opened up, so I just hit it and thankfully it went in,” he said.
The winger has no worries about fitting into any system Lambert chooses to operate, after reverting to a diamond midfield shape against the Sky Blues.
“I just like playing football. If the manager asked me to play right-back, I would,” said Bennett.