Canos relishing his Brentford success after 'hard times' at City
- Credit: PA
His move to Norwich City as a youngster may have proved unsuccessful but Sergi Canos will face his old club as a Premier League regular on Saturday.
The Spanish winger has started all 10 of Brentford’s matches since promotion and has helped the Bees to make a flying start, enjoying three wins and three draws.
Canos scored during the shock 2-0 defeat of Arsenal on the opening night of the season, which had the Brentford Community Stadium rocking as the momentum of play-off final success at Wembley carried into the new campaign.
The 24-year-old is loving life but it was very different after joining Norwich from Liverpool for £2.5million in 2016, having enjoyed a successful breakthrough Championship season while on loan at Brentford.
With the Canaries finding their feet after Premier League relegation under Alex Neil, Canos only made six appearances and his only league start was a 3-0 loss at Birmingham.
He was sold to Brentford for the same fee that he had arrived after just six months, with his only real highlight being two Carrow Road goals during a 6-1 thrashing of Coventry in the League Cup.
Canos spoke recently about bonding with James Maddison, who was also on the fringes at the time and joined Aberdeen on loan after also starring in that cup win over Coventry – ahead of meeting his former team-mate, as Leicester won 2-1 in west London.
“We would both be in the group of 20 travelling to games, but the coach then chose his squad of 18, and Madders and me were always the two left out,” the Spaniard recalled.
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“They were hard times but we had a really good relationship and we supported each other.”
He also revealed that his grandfather had been unhappy about the former Barcelona trainee’s move to Norwich, just a few months after he had made his first Liverpool appearance as a substitute in a Premier League game at end of 2015-16.
“He wasn’t happy. He was scared,” Canos explained, speaking to The Sun. “Everyone back home thought Liverpool was a big club and the stability they can give you is a lot bigger than at a Championship club.
“But if there are no opportunities, your career is going downwards. I wasn’t going to be who I am today if I stayed. I told him I had to risk it.”
Despite missing much of 2019-20 with a serious knee injury, Canos has taken his Brentford tally to 34 goals in 220 matches as he earned Championship success.
With a laugh, he added: “My grandfather has definitely forgiven me now.”
The skilful attacker took on something of a cult status among City fans on Easter Monday of 2019, as Brentford hosted Leeds in a later kick-off after the Canaries had been held to a 2-2 draw at Stoke – missing a chance to potentially seal promotion.
However, Canos scored one and set up the other as the Bees beat Leeds 2-0 to give Norwich a huge boost in the promotion race, knowing that beating Blackburn in their next home game would seal the deal – which it did, thanks to a 2-1 triumph.
He remains very much an important part of Frank’s team ahead of Saturday’s clash with City, being used as the right winger in a 3-5-2 formation this season.
“You cannot buy something like this. You have to create it over time,” he said of the Bees’ good start to the season. “It is working and it is getting us results in the Premier League.
“We have been working so hard to get to this league and we are here now. We can’t disappoint people. It is our responsibility to show we can compete.
“We can compete against Chelsea. We drew against Liverpool. We beat West Ham who finished in the top six. But without that spirit, we are no one.”
Canos came on for the final 30 minutes of City's 1-1 draw at Brentford last season, as Kenny McLean snatched a deflected equaliser late in the game, but started as Emi Buendia scored the only goal for the Canaries at Carrow Road in March to keep the eventual champions' title charge on course - forcing a save from Tim Krul with a swerving shot at 0-0.
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