Shackell can be future captain - Grant
DAVID CUFFLEY New boss Peter Grant tipped Jason Shackell as a future Norwich City captain after the big defender helped him to a winning start to his reign at St Andrew's last night.
New boss Peter Grant tipped Jason Shackell as a future Norwich City captain after the big defender helped him to a winning start to his reign at St Andrew's last night.
Shackell was honest enough to admit that the goal that gave the Canaries a 1-0 victory over Birmingham City - their first Coca-Cola Championship away win since April - was not his, despite initially being credited with it.
A Birmingham defender, almost certainly Mat Sadler, appeared to get the final touch to Darren Huckerby's 66th-minute free-kick to settle Grant's first match in charge and heap more pressure on Blues boss Steve Bruce.
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But grateful Grant gave Shackell the credit for the aerial challenge that put pressure on the home rearguard.
“I'm giving the goal to him anyway because I don't care!” said Grant. “If it was a striker, a striker would be claiming it, but I think it was an own goal.
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“We said to the players that if the ball comes in the box, you've got to get pressure on people. Don't give them free headers, don't let 'keepers come and get free balls. Jason's come in there, he's attacked the ball, it's good delivery in a great area of the pitch and it's very, very difficult to defend against when you're defending against your own goal, so he's got enough pressure on to get us the goal.
“I'm delighted for him because it's great when you see centre-backs getting up the pitch and being a threat in the opposition boxes.”
And Grant heaped praise on the 23-year-old Shackell, whose return to the starting line-up has seen City take four points from two away games.
“He's a young man who, I think, in the two games I've seen, has been excellent, and I think he'll grow in stature. He looks like one of these boys who in years to come could captain this club. There's no doubt about that in my mind if he keeps progressing the way he is.”
Asked whether the goal was his, Shackell admitted: “I don't think so. I haven't really seen it myself. I didn't really know what was going on, to be honest. It was just nice to see the ball in the back of the net, and to get the win was really nice.
“It's always nice to have a goal but I was just jumping with the boy and it came off one of us and went in. It was a great win. We worked hard, we were tighter today, more solid as a team, which was excellent. It's nice to get a clean sheet.
“It was a good team performance overall and a well-deserved result. It's not an easy place to come to. They've got some great players and spent a lot of money, and they're going to be there or thereabouts eventually. So to come here and get a win was a great result.”
Shackell, left out by former boss Nigel Worthington in his final two matches in charge against Plymouth and Burnley, said: “I had a little spell out which is always frustrating, but it's nice to be back in the team and we've got a couple of good results. Now we've got to make sure we continue it.”
He said of Grant: “He's come in and he didn't make many changes, but he's made a really good first impression. The boys like him and it's a good way to start off.”