Keelan wants Marshall to break his Canaries record
CHRIS LAKEY Legendary Canary Kevin Keelan is hoping new boy David Marshall can break his Norwich City appearances record - and avoid any more repeats of last season's disruption in the City goalmouth.
Legendary Canary Kevin Keelan is hoping new boy David Marshall can break his Norwich City appearances record - and avoid any more repeats of last season's disruption in the City goalmouth.
Marshall has been brought in to stop the merry-go-round which saw City try five different keepers last season - with manager Peter Grant challenging the 22-year-old Scot to join the list of exceptional keepers who have represented the club over the years.
Keelan, with a club record 673 matches, is top of that tree - but is ready to lend Marshall a helping hand to break a mark which has stood since his final game, in 1980.
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"Records are there to be broken, even though the game has changed so much, but I'd love to help the lad if I could when I'm in England," said Keelan, now coaching in the United States. "If Peter Grant wants me to spend some time with the lad I'd be more than willing to pass on anything I can.
"Peter has obviously brought a young guy in from Celtic with a long-term aim to build a team in front of him. If he gets the right coaching he will do the team no end of good."
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Keelan revealed that he made a similar offer to former manager Nigel Worthington and assistant Doug Livermore after spotting what he believed were some problems that could be ironed out in Robert Green's play - only for the offer to fall on deaf ears.
"I watch our games on TV over here in the States and I thought Robert could do with some help on crosses," said the 66-year-old Keelan. "They flatly turned me down, but I am pleased to see Robert has done very well and gone on to do himself proud with West Ham."
Keelan's first City appearance was in August 1963 - and in the following 17 years his rivals hardly had a look-in as the man his first manager Ron Ashman labelled "the bargain of the century" dominated life at Carrow Road. And Keelan believes if Marshall can beat off the competition, then City can only benefit.
"It is so unsettling for a defence to have changes in goal all the time, there is no stability in that at all - you have to build a team from the back," he said.
"When I was playing we had guys like Duncan Forbes, Dave Stringer and Colin Sullivan and I knew exactly where they wanted the ball, how they wanted it, we just read each other's games. That is the understanding you have to build up and you can't do that by changing keepers all the time.
"What made me successful was the players around me."
Keelan, who lives in Florida, has urged Marshall to keep on his toes and never become complacent.
"The game today is so easy, there are no concerns for the players - they earn a lot of money and can retire just about whenever they want to," he said. "I never once sat back on my laurels and thought, 'this position is mine' and I hope David Marshall doesn't either.
"I had people pushing me, I always knew there was someone else there trying to get into the team. Norwich have a few goalkeepers and if he slips, they will be waiting."