Lambert rumours 'flattering for Norwich City'

David Cuffley Norwich City must learn to live with growing interest in their highly-rated manager - but can take heart from the way Paul Lambert has dismissed all talk of moving on.

David Cuffley

Norwich City must learn to live with growing interest in their highly-rated manager - but can take heart from the way Paul Lambert has dismissed all talk of moving on.

That's the view of former City player of the season, now TV expert Dion Dublin, who is delighted to see his old club charging ahead in League One and on the right track for a swift return to the Championship.

Lambert yesterday ruled out returning to former club Celtic as manager if the opportunity arises - after he was tipped as a possible successor to the under-pressure Tony Mowbray at Parkhead. He said a move back to Scotland was “not for me”.

Earlier this season, he flatly rejected reports that he could take charge of Premier League club Burnley.

Ex-striker Dublin, who played for Celtic in 2006, believes it is inevitable Lambert will be linked with top jobs after a run of almost unbroken success in his six months at Carrow Road, but at least it means City are winning regularly again.

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He said: “If he continues to turn things round in the way he has, you expect the manager to have speculation surrounding him, looking at what he's done since he started at the club. If you've got that kind of talent and you want to better yourself, why not?

“Norwich should be flattered if people are showing that kind of interest but even more flattered that he is ruling it out.”

The 40-year-old Dublin, who retired in 2008 to begin a broadcasting role with Sky Sports, admires the single-minded way Lambert has taken the Canaries to a five-point lead in League One with 12 matches to go.

“He has done it his way,” said Dublin. “The players are given certain rules to adhere to and certain boundaries that they do not cross. They've been told how to play, they know their individual jobs and every team plays so much better like that.

“It takes strength of character to do that, to say 'This is how it's going to be'. The manager has strong motivational skills, he's very single minded and he has some talented players there, playing at their best.

“He's a very, very focused man and it's reaping rewards.

“I still think Bryan Gunn was hard done by and that view won't change but the man in charge is doing a very good job and that's great.”

Dublin, who scored 16 goals in 79 appearances in what he describes as “two great years” with City, said the club did not belong in League One - and ought to be at the top.

He said: “I'm absolutely delighted they are where they are, but not surprised they are where they are. And I expect them to be there at the end of the season because of the quality of the club, of the supporters, the manager and the players.

“Remember, they are in Division Three, as we older ones know it, and a club of Norwich's stature shouldn't be there. I expect them to get automatic promotion.

“I expect them to go up and they should be under pressure to go up. That kind of pressure brings the best out of players like Grant Holt, Adam Drury and Gary Doherty.

“They're playing the game in the right way. There were a few youngsters playing the last time I saw them and youngsters need that experience, but they are learning off each other and there is a good blend, they're gelling nicely.”

In his interview with the Scottish Daily Record, Lambert said he did not want to return to management north of the border.

He said: “I had eight terrific years at Celtic but there comes a time when you have to cut your ties.

“I still look for Celtic's result and Seville will always remain the biggest disappointment in my football career. But the idea of coming back doesn't appeal to me.

“I mean no disrespect to Scottish football but England is just a bigger place. I'm proud of my Scottish heritage but a move back home is not for me.

“The idea of playing the same club anything from four to six times a season doesn't appeal to me.

“I think Owen Coyle has done a fantastic job, taking a club like Burnley to the Premier League and then moving to Bolton. The best of them all, Sir Alex Ferguson, is still going strong at Manchester United as well. Then there's David Moyes and Billy Davies.

“The common denominator we have is that none of us have contemplated going back up the road to work. You should never say never in this game, but at this moment it is certainly not for me.

“I hope Celtic come right back to form because there's no better place to be when they're successful. But Norwich gave me an opportunity and they satisfy my ambitions.”