Big guns don’t scare us - Naughton
Norwich City’s on loan defender Kyle Naughton believes Paul Lambert’s men have already proved they are not intimidated by the Premier League’s finest, ahead of Saturday’s latest trip to table toppers Manchester City.
Roberto Mancini’s high rollers are yet to drop a point at home, but the Canaries have demonstrated they are no respecter of reputations with sterling displays across the city at rivals United, Chelsea and Liverpool this season. Naughton feels Lambert has drilled a fearless mentality into a squad who believe they can compete at the highest level.
He said: “There’s no fear, no matter who we are up against. At Anfield, he said, ‘There’ll be no rolling over here, no shying out of anything because of who they are. We are going to fight for every single ball’. By the time he had finished, we all felt we could get something out of the game and we did.
“It was the same at Old Trafford, where we just didn’t have any luck at all. It could have been intimidating going there as a newly-promoted side, but we more than held our own. That shows the belief the manager has instilled in us.”
Naughton, who came off the bench to help City to a 2-1 win over QPR on Saturday, has been impressed by Lambert’s approach. He said: “The gaffer is what I’d call a no-nonsense manager. He gets the maximum out of every player, never lets any sloppiness creep in and always pushes you to keep improving.
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“You soon know if you’ve done something wrong and if he leaves you out of the team, he tells you why to your face. You know exactly where you stand because he never shies away from any issue. I think you have to have an aura about you to be a top manager and he has.”
The 23-year-old has now made 12 Premier League appearances for the Canaries following a season-long loan switch from Spurs. Naughton – speaking to the Daily Mail – admitted he is loving life in Norfolk.
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He said: “It’s a great club and I’m really enjoying my time here. It helps that I’ve formed a really good understanding with Elliott Bennett down the right.”
Naughton does not want to return to a bit part role at his parent club Tottenham when his Norwich spell ends. Spurs and England international right-back Kyle Walker presents a formidable barrier to Naughton’s hopes of becoming a first team regular at White Hart Lane for Harry Redknapp’s Champions League-chasing squad.
He said: “Kyle and I became close pals at the Sheffield United Academy and our families go back even further. It’s a bit ironic that he’s now effectively standing in my way at Tottenham. I don’t begrudge him his place one bit because he’s playing really well and I can have no complaints. I may have to assess things at the end of the season because, first and foremost, I want to be playing Premier League football.
“I’ll talk to Tottenham and see what they think, but if it looks like they can’t give me at least a couple of games, then perhaps we’ll have to have a look around.”