Bertrand to face mentor Drury
Chris Lakey Ryan Bertrand comes face to face with a player he regards as instrumental in his ambitions to play Premier League football when his new club, Nottingham Forest, face the Canaries tomorrow. The Chelsea left-back spent a season and a half learning his trade on loan at Norwich and is doing the same at Forest, where he has a six-month deal.
Ryan Bertrand comes face to face with a player he regards as instrumental in his ambitions to play Premier League football when his new club, Nottingham Forest, face the Canaries tomorrow.
The Chelsea left-back spent a season and a half learning his trade on loan at Norwich and is doing the same at Forest, where he has a six-month deal.
Bertrand became a regular feature in City starting line-ups after being signed in January, 2008 - with Adam Drury, the club's longest serving player and veteran of more than 300 matches, suffering a serious knee injury which effectively wiped out almost two seasons of his career.
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But it's Drury that Bertrand credits for helping him make the step up to Championship standards - and keeping him in Chelsea's plans, where his path to the top has so often been blocked by England international Ashley Cole.
“I always say being that young and going there to play it was important that I could learn and he was a really good person to learn from,” said the 21-year-old. “He is a brilliant professional and a brilliant footballer. He has been around for a few years now and whatever I could learn off him was greatly appreciated.
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“He has years left in him yet - he is a great player on and off the pitch, the way he handles himself and the way he looks after people around him and in the team.”
Bertrand's loan spells at City, Reading last season and now Forest are all intended to prepare him for life in the big league - even though Cole's presence is something he is getting used to.
“It's been like that for years,” he said. “But one of the most positive things that happened before I came out on loan was I had a good meeting with the manager and he assured me that I have a career and a future at Chelsea and he just wants me to go out and play my football and come back and see. Being at Norwich got me used to playing in front of big crowds and playing well. That was one thing I wanted - the whole point of going on loan was to try and progress. It doesn't always work out that way but I try and look forward all the time.”
Bertrand's expected appearance tomorrow will complete a strange early-season double - last week he faced last season's employers Reading.
“I'm looking forward to playing against Norwich,” he said. “I played against Reading last week and hopefully I will get the same sort of reception. It was a really good experience in the end and it was nice to be appreciated by the Reading fans.
“Norwich is a place I will always remember. It was where I started.”