Bertrand 'elegant' player - Roeder
David Cuffley The youngest and oldest members of Norwich City's winning team won special praise from manager Glenn Roeder after helping secure a 3-1 success at Barnsley.
The youngest and oldest members of Norwich City's winning team won special praise from manager Glenn Roeder after helping secure a 3-1 success at Barnsley.
Loan signing Ryan Bertrand, making his first start for the Canaries at 18, and Dion Dublin, on the scoresheet again at 38, represent the spring and autumn of Roeder's squad.
And he was delighted with the contribution of both men as his team moved out of the bottom six of the Championship.
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“There were some good performances out there today, and none more so than the lad we got from Chelsea, Ryan Bertrand,” said Roeder.
Left-back Bertrand played 24 matches on loan to Oldham earlier this season and, operating in a left midfield role in front of Mo Camara at Oakwell, did a good job of keeping potential Barnsley danger man Jamal Campbell-Ryce quiet.
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“Mark Crossley, the goalkeeper at Oldham said to Lee Clark 'This is a terrific young player' and I'm so looking forward to working with him for the rest of the season,” said Roeder.
“I thought he was exceptional when you consider he really is a natural left-back playing a position he has not played in before. I just thought his decision making was first class and he did look a cut above a lot of the players on the pitch.
“He just showed what a quality footballer he is because he looked so elegant and comfortable in possession and he got in some terrific blocks as well.”
Dublin, meanwhile, continues to defy Father Time. Restored to the attack after defensive duties in the FA Cup against Bury a week earlier, he headed his fifth goal of the season to wrap up victory.
Said Roeder: “He's a role model. Football gets a lot of bad publicity and it's a shame that there is a small minority that give the players a bad name and, of course, that makes more news than the good stories, the nice stories, of players that are role models - and Dion Dublin is a fantastic role model and hugely important to me when he's out on the pitch.
“I know him, he knows me and he is a very important member of the squad and the team at the moment because he is versatile as well.”
Dublin said in the summer, after signing a new one-year deal with City, that this would be his last season as a player, but Roeder will have no objection if he has a change of heart.
“I haven't asked him that question. I wouldn't be against him carrying on at all, with what he is producing at the moment,” said Roeder.
“It is all about retaining your enthusiasm when you wake up in the morning and you're looking forward to going training. I think at the moment he is looking towards improving his saxophone skills rather than carrying on for another year.
“But I certainly wouldn't be pushing him to retire because I think he can be a valuable member of the squad, even next year.”
Roeder was delighted his half-time lecture had the desired effect as second half-goals from 19-year-old Ched Evans, skipper Mark Fotheringham and Dublin turned the match round after Martin Devaney had given Barnsley an 18th-minute lead.
“We thoroughly deserved the win. We haven't scored three goals for a little while now. If truth be known, we have let Barnsley get away with it because if we had taken the chances, the clear-cut chances, that we made, it could have been embarrassing,” said Roeder.
“We swamped them in the second half - and the first-half performance wasn't bad either. It's just that we never took any chances and we conceded a rotten goal.
“The goal was particularly poor. We just didn't defend well for the goal, even the fact the goal crept into the net - it shouldn't have done.
“The important thing was to make sure we started the second half well, that we had momentum. We did and we got the goal, and the first goal was always going to be important. We got back in the game very quickly, but it is unusual for a team, especially away from home, to keep the momentum going the whole of the second half. I would like to know the percentage of possession we had compared with Barnsley's. It must have been huge.”