McLean urged to lead from the front in Canaries’ Championship charge
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Daniel Farke wants Kenny McLean to lead Norwich City’s Championship fightback.
The Canaries’ chief believes his new contract over the summer ensures City will now get the best years of the influential Scottish international’s career.
Norwich’s head coach described the 28-year-old as ‘indispensable’ last season, and in a transfer window that has shaken up City’s midfield options since relegation McLean remains a cornerstone of Farke’s bid to land a second promotion.
“Kenny has proved how important he is for us. He was brilliant during the last Championship season,” said Farke. “Of course it was difficult for him like the rest to shine in the Premier League.
“We got the feeling we were lacking some physicality and power and speed at that level. But Kenny provided this.
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“He is aggressive, he can win headers, he wins duels and regains possession, and he has good passing quality. He is also experienced and a homegrown player at the right age.
“In the dressing room he is one of the big leaders and a great influence on the younger players.
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“The new contract shows we feel he can add further value. Great for us and for him.”
McLean and Tottenham loanee Oliver Skipp look set to resume their budding partnership for Saturday’s Championship opener at Huddersfield, after missing the League Cup exit at Luton Town.
“I felt for some of the lads who played in the cup. They knew they had a chance to shine when they are not in the spotlight,” said Farke. “But after such a game you would have to say we need our best players back, the 15 internationals and the other ones out. We need them to achieve our targets this season.
“Maybe the ones who played at Luton need more time but I am far from accusing them. No problem, we have to work on it and one day in the future you hope they will be ready.”
Key defensive duo Grant Hanley and Sam Byram miss the big kick-off after hamstring-related injuries in the Premier League run-in, and then summer rehab.
“Grant is back on the pitch and doing some individual running and work with the ball. We have to build up the strength in his leg,” said Farke. “We are confident he is not too far away.
“With Sam, everything looks ok during the rehab but it will last a few more weeks, maybe a couple of months.”