Eagle feels grounded by lack of games

David Cuffley Robert Eagle admits that his Norwich City season has still to get off the ground - more than five months after signing a new deal with the club.The 21-year-old left-sided midfielder was given a surprise one-year extension to his contract in May by manager Glenn Roeder, but has yet to add to the 12 first team appearances he made two seasons ago.

David Cuffley

Robert Eagle admits that his Norwich City season has still to get off the ground - more than five months after signing a new deal with the club.

The 21-year-old left-sided midfielder was given a surprise one-year extension to his contract in May by manager Glenn Roeder, but has yet to add to the 12 first team appearances he made two seasons ago.

Eagle spent the summer pumping iron and sampling the loneliness of the long-distance runner by clocking up the miles in laps around Eaton Park.


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But appearing in the Canaries' two tour matches in Sweden in July is the closest he has come to a senior recall and it is now 18 months since his last competitive first team outing in a 3-0 Championship defeat at Burnley.

While the Leiston-born winger is stuck in a queue behind a string of left-sided players, he also believes City's lack of reserve team football has given him little chance to impress either his own manager or clubs who might consider taking him on loan.

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Eagle has appeared in two of the three reserve friendlies staged at Carrow Road - against Kirkley and Southend - but last season he played 17 of City's 18 Combination games before their summer withdrawal from the league.

He said: “I know they weren't the best games but they were still games that we could get under our belts and get 90 minutes in. Now it's one or two games a month or every two months, it's not enough, really.

“You can do all you can in training but it's nothing compared to a game.

“It's just annoying for me that we got pulled out of the league.

“One thing I want to do is just to play games so if it means going out on loan and playing games, I'm definitely up for that.

“A lot of teams like to come and watch you play before they want to take you on loan. Bringing us out of the reserve league means we just haven't got any games to play.”

Eagle has also had to play at left-back, but believes his best position is further forward.

He said: “It has been difficult. I've been playing left-back quite a lot lately, which I'm quite disappointed about, because it's not really my position.

“I'm normally a left midfielder and more competent in that position, but there have been a few players out and there are not a lot of left-backs around, so I tend to get thrown in there. I just have to do my best, really, and try to force my way into the team.

“I've still got quite a lot of time to try to get myself in but if it doesn't happen I just have to move on and do my best wherever I go.

“What you want to get paid for is to go out and play and it's something I've missed.”

Former boss Nigel Worthington gave Eagle his senior debut in a Carling Cup tie at Rotherham two years ago and he made a further 11 appearances under Peter Grant.

Eagle made it on to the substitutes' bench just twice last season without getting on to the field, but Roeder gave him another year on his contract, describing him as technically gifted with a cultured left foot, and saying City would put him on a “specific strengthening programme”.

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