McLean hopeful of exciting 2021 after reclaiming central role at City
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Six weeks ago there was a bleak outlook for Kenny McLean, but the Scot was determined to turn his fortunes around, knowing the midfield competition he faces at Norwich City.
The impressive form of Lukas Rupp had seen the Scotland international start just one of the nine games prior to a knee injury in November which threatened to leave him sidelined for months if surgery was required.
Instead, with a place in his country's European Championship squad to secure and a possible second promotion with the Canaries to fight for, the former Aberdeen ace has re-emerged and found top form in recent weeks.
“The initial news wasn’t great for myself and I ended up coming out the other side of the injury pretty well," said McLean, who turns 29 on Friday.
“It’s still not ideal but with Lukas (Rupp) being injured it gave me an opportunity to get back in – which was a massive loss. But when I get my opportunity I’ll try to take my chance and try to do as much as I can for the team. Right now, I feel good."
Rupp is hoping to return from his hamstring issues during Saturday's FA Cup third round tie against Coventry at Carrow Road but will have a job on his hands to shift McLean from the league line-up, whose forward pass was converted beautifully by Emi Buendia during Saturday's 1-0 home win over Barnsley.
"As a player, you want to be successful, you want to play at the best level and play as many games as you can," he added, after claiming his second assist of the campaign.
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“It’s an exciting year ahead for us, hopefully. If we keep playing like that, keep improving, then we’ll be okay.”
Victory put the Canaries four points clear at the top of the Championship table at the halfway point of the season but it was another game when the leaders should have been winning more comfortably.
McLean, who signed a new contract until 2023 in September, says the City players are well aware they are wasting chances to make life much easier.
He concluded: "No doubt about it, but the good thing is we’re getting those chances and if we keep giving players like Teemu (Pukki) those chances, they are going to take them.
“We could have been two, three or four up but it wasn’t to be. It was good to get back to clean sheets. There were a lot of positives to take and we find ourselves in a very good position.”