Russell happy with competition for place

Michael Bailey Norwich City midfielder Darel Russell is not about let competition for a midfield place at Carrow Road worry him as City's first pre-season friendly approaches.

Michael Bailey

Norwich City midfielder Darel Russell is not about let competition for a midfield place at Carrow Road worry him as City's first pre-season friendly approaches.

While the Canaries look to and some flesh to their striking and defensive bones, next season's squad will already include 11 midfield bodies available to City boss Glenn Roeder, with Sammy Clinghan and Wes Hoolahan joining the ranks in summer moves from Nottingham Forest and Blackpool respectively.

But Russell, who had been a regular in Roeder's side last season until the final three matches, is a long way from being afraid of losing his place.

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“There are a lot of midfielders here now and I don't know whether we are trying to add to that as well, but competition is only a good thing,” said the 27-year-old. “I perform best when there's competition for your position. It brings the best out of you and I revel in it; it's not a worry for me.

“But obviously if you're in a position where you are down the pecking order, it's disheartening. But you've got to sit up, take it on the chin and work hard to get back up into those top slots.”

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It is something Russell is keen to do rather than walk away from Carrow Road, as has been suggested by regular summer speculation linking the Londoner with a transfer to City's Championship rivals Burnley.

But for now, Russell is raring to make a flying start to a new season in which he is still waiting to see how the City dressing room will feel without Darren Huckerby and Dion Dublin to bounce off.

“There is definitely a different feel,” said Russell. “A lot of characters we had in the changing room are not there now - big characters, big players - so there is a different feel.

“But the feeling we have now will not be the feeling we have when we get to the end of August and we've made those additions. We're still waiting on people to come in, and then you really know how the team are going to gel together.

“Until those players arrive, I think it's difficult to actually say what the true feeling of the changing room will be until that happens, but the changing room was very good last year and we still have a good basis of that.

“The new boys seem fine and eager to do well, and that's the attitude you want from players. They're both nice lads and easy to get on with. It's difficult to tell what they're like as characters at the moment because it's so early. It's nerve-racking when you move to a new club and it's going to take them a little while to settle in.

“But it is just a case of bringing in the other people to really have a different feel and a different blend. It's nice to have a good mix of people in the changing room that you can go to or can give you a laugh, or whatever it may be.”

And Russell is more than happy one of those players will be Chelsea starlet Ryan Bertrand, who has returned to Carrow Road on a six month loan.

“He's a good signing and a good character for the dressing room,” said Russell. “The boys have met him, he's settled in very well and he's a good player. He sat next to me last year and it will be nice to have him back there again entertaining me. He just a good, funny lad and he's a London lad like me.”

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