Norwich City v Sunderland preview: Steven Naismith is out to make up for lost time
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Steven Naismith is his own harshest critic, which is why the Scottish international knows he has failed to live up to expectations at Norwich City.
The experienced midfielder arrived with a hefty price tag and huge excitement fanned by a superb debut in that bizarre 5-4 Premier League defeat to Liverpool in January 2016.
Naismith is yet to hit similar heights on a regular basis since, although the 30-year-old insists that can change under Daniel Farke.
“The way the manager wants to play, to get on the ball and build the attacks up suits me. I enjoy it. I have come in every day and most days I have learned something,” he said. “That is important for me as a player. I always enjoy it when you can see what the end goal is on the training pitch. I have a good relationship with him. He makes you feel as if you are important. His ideas are great. The squad isn’t as big this season but it is pretty clear to be in the running to play you have to earn a place. To put it mildly I am raring to go. Obviously you have a good pre-season and a new manager comes in, who is happy with you, but then you have to serve this suspension.”
Naismith could get a first chance to impress on Sunday against Sunderland after completing the remainder of a three-match ban. Carrow Road has arguably seen the best of the ex-Everton attacker, going back to that memorable debut.
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“Norwich did a lot to get me here in the first place. I definitely felt that from the owners down since I came here,” he said. “In the period I have been here it hasn’t been that successful. If anything it has been the total opposite. I came here thinking I could hopefully help move the club forward. That is still the case now. I think for me it was fitness that first season and then last season was a bit of a stop start affair. The team wasn’t playing well, I wasn’t playing well as an individual but it is something I want to change.
“The manager didn’t see fit to play me a lot at the start of last season but I have worked hard during this pre-season to get match fit.
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“As you get older you appreciate playing more and do as much as you can to get yourself in shape. There has been a lot of change and the club is definitely going in the right direction.”