Lambert is a born winner - Crofts
Norwich City midfielder Andrew Crofts believes his current manager Paul Lambert is destined to make it to the very top of the game – like he did as a player.
Lambert’s first year in charge at Carrow Road has seen City regain Championship status as League One champions, and the Scot continue to build his promising reputation as one of English football’s rising managerial talents.
And Crofts, who made a summer switch from Brighton, counts himself lucky to have had such good quality managers in recent seasons – including his stint under Gus Poyet at the Withdean Stadium.
“I’ve been lucky to play for two quality managers in the last two years,” said Crofts.
“Gus Poyet and Paul Lambert are different characters with different ways of doing things, but one thing they have both got is that they are born winners.
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“Poyet comes across as laughing and joking but, at the end of the day, he is serious when it comes to management. Everybody knows he’s the boss and because of what he has done, he has got instant respect.
“It’s the same with Paul Lambert – if someone has won the Champions League, you listen to what they say.
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“Both of them have done well already but, in management terms, they are both young with a lot to learn. Given time, I think they’ll both go on to manage at the very highest level.”
The 26-year-old’s move to Carrow Road is the biggest of his career – but something Croft admits he can really enjoy thanks to a three-month spell at non-league Wrexham in 2009.
“When you’ve played at the bottom, you really appreciate how good life is at the top,” said Wales international Crofts. “Two years ago I went on loan to Wrexham, who had been relegated to the conference the season before. I was with Gillingham at the time and I’m sure a lot of people thought, ‘Why is he stepping down there?’.
“One reason was that I wasn’t wanted at Gills but, for me, the big reason was Dean Saunders. He is Wrexham manager but also on John Toshack’s coaching staff with the Wales team.
“I was away with the Welsh squad and my loan with Peterborough was just coming to an end. Deano said, ‘Look, come and play for me at Wrexham, get some games under your belt and help me try and get a Welsh club back in the league’.
“I jumped at the chance and I’m glad I did. Deano is a top bloke with high standards and I learned a lot from him. But looking back, it also helped me appreciate what I have got now.
“Having been around these little grounds and played in front of a few hundred people, I know just how special it is to be stepping out at these big grounds in the Championship.”
Crofts has made an impressive start to his City career, with one goal and some commanding performances.
And he paid tribute to his former club for make his big move to the Canaries a reality in the summer – rather than getting in his way.
“I’ve got to say a big thank you to Brighton for making it possible,” Crofts told the Football league Paper.
“I had a year left on my contract and there was talk of them offering me a new one. I was also their captain and player of the year, so they obviously didn’t want me to go.
“But Gus was a player himself and he understood it was a great opportunity for me. They said as long as the price was right I could go, and they were as good as their word.
“It is a club with great ambition, a good chairman and a good manager in Gus. He is bringing in some very good players and I fancy them to do well this year.
“For me though, it’s all about Norwich. I knew from playing against the last year how good the players were and that has been borne out by what I have seen.
“We want to win every game and with Grant Holt, Chris Martin and Wes Hoolahan up front, we have got the firepower to do it.”