Slate wiped clean for Smith with City outcasts
- Credit: Denise Bradley/Archant
Dean Smith has wiped the slate clean with Norwich City’s squad – but is watching their every move.
Smith’s Carrow Road era starts on Saturday, with Southampton’s Premier League visit, after he was unveiled as Daniel Farke’s replacement.
The likes of Todd Cantwell and Chelsea loanee Billy Gilmour had limited game time this season under the previous head coach, but Smith will keep all his options open.
“People who probably haven't been playing can now sense an opportunity to try and get into the team,” he said. “When a new head coach comes in, the players want to hear what he's got to say. I said it when I came in that everybody starts from a fresh page.
"It's two pairs of fresh eyes looking at the squad and the players. From what I've been told the attitude of this group is pretty much spot on every day. I expected it on my first day because the adrenaline is up.
“For me it is about examining them every day on the training ground, watching little behaviours they've got, looking at the quality, the technical abilities, obviously, and over this last week or so the sports science team have been passing me the numbers, so we can look at the physical outputs as well.
"We're analysing everything all the time. It's important that I get good relationships with the senior players straight away and the leaders of the group.
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"I'm quite a sociable guy so all the players in that dressing room will find that I will speak to them quite regularly.”
Farke previously questioned Cantwell’s fitness levels after leaving him out in recent times.
“The big thing is that we make sure that he's fit enough, first and foremost, in terms of his output and his numbers. He appears to be so far,” said Smith. “They've all really set a good first impression on myself and Craig (Shakespeare). I am told it's a strong dressing room and there's a lot of unity within that dressing room.
"There's a lot of competition for places. That's what you want as a head coach, because you want a competitive team to choose from.
"One thing we need is a real strong spine for the middle of that team, and if we can build that and build confidence, then who knows what can happen.”