Norwich City boss confident squad will return in top shape
There is no list of do’s and don’ts from Paul Lambert to his Premier League squad – instead, the Canaries boss trusts his players to know exactly what lies ahead.
Norwich City finished their season at the start of last month and are not be due back at Colney for pre-season training until early July.
But given the prospect of Europe’s finest coming down to Carrow Road next season, Lambert has faith no one will lack the discipline needed over the summer to hit the ground running once that horribly tough first week back at training finally arrives.
“I think they know the magnitude of it, they know what I expect and I have no worries about any of them,” he said.
“I have no worries they won’t come back in good shape.
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“I think it is too big; this is too big for us not to be ready.
“I think it is the best league in the world that you are going to play in, you are up against the best players and if you come back and you’re not ready for that then there is only one person to blame. It isn’t going to get any bigger than this – we are right in it now, that is the bottom line.
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“There is no room for error, we will try everything we can to do OK in it.”
Some players will enjoy a longer summer break than others.
For right-back Russell Martin, he had to cut short his time with team-mates on holiday in Las Vegas to fulfil his call-up to Craig Levein’s Scotland squad for their Nations Cup campaign.
Martin, born in Brighton, qualified by virtue of his Scottish father – not that his current boss is about to accept him as a fellow countryman.
“With an accent like that?” joked Lambert.
“I am delighted for him to get picked, I really am. It is great for him and great for the club, and where he has come from, from his Wycombe days.
“He got 10 minutes the other week, the rest is up to himself to keep forcing himself.
“He has had an absolutely terrific season for us.”
For many City fans, City forward Wes Hoolahan should have enjoyed the same prolonged season with the Republic of Ireland.
However, the 29-year-old continues to be ignored by Ireland’s Italian boss, Giovanni Trapattoni.
And Lambert understands where the Norwich faithful are coming from – after all, he would pick him.
“Yes – that is not me telling somebody else their job, just on the way he has been playing; I don’t pick the Irish squad,” added the City manager.
As for potential new recruits, Lambert admitted doing business as a Premier League club is a whole new ball game compared to building a squad for the two tiers below: “It’s a different level altogether because everybody just sees Norwich now with all this money and it doesn’t quite work like that,” said Lambert.
“There are loads of things that get spoken about – all we can do is try and get a team on the pitch and a squad together that we think will go and compete with people. That is what we will try and do.
“It has just moved on in two years at a rate of knots. Two years ago we were sitting in League One, that is the magnitude of it, but the lads have earned the right to go and compete at that level.
“My job is to go and try and build a squad that will compete with other teams.”