Smith can't wait for Norwich City debut
David Cuffley Summer signing Steven Smith would happily have laced up his boots for Norwich City today if manager Paul Lambert had asked him - but after eight weeks on the sidelines the full-back admits he is not truly ready for action.
Summer signing Steven Smith would happily have laced up his boots for Norwich City today if manager Paul Lambert had asked him - but after eight weeks on the sidelines the full-back admits he is not truly ready for action.
Smith has just returned to full training with the Canaries after recovering from ankle ligament damage he suffered during the club's summer training camp in Germany.
And the 25-year-old former Glasgow Rangers defender can hardly wait to sample a Carrow Road full house.
“If you asked me I'd play tomorrow but being realistic I've not played for eight weeks and even in pre-season I only played 45 minutes or an hour, so it's tough,” he said.
“The adrenalin would probably get me through the first couple of games, but realistically I think I need a couple of matches before I'm ready.
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“If the manager said to me today 'Can you play?' I'd say yes, but I'll just see what happens. It feels good now and I feel like I'm over it.”
Smith appeared in City's first pre-season game at Dereham but just a week later, their behind-closed-doors friendly against German club SV Bergisch Gladbach proved his undoing.
“I damaged ankle ligaments on the last day we had in Germany. It was tough after doing all the difficult running for two weeks, when the games were going to start, to get injured,” he said.
“It was a tackle in the first minute of the game. It was a bit disappointing. I tried to play on and run it off but I wasn't getting anywhere so I had to come off.
“The recovery went pretty straightforward. I was in a boot for two weeks and then it was just a case of progressing it and getting into the running and I'm back in full training now, so it's good.
“It's been a long time - seven or eight weeks - so it's just good to get back out and get involved again.”
Attacking left-back Smith has been a reluctant spectator as City have chalked up seven points from their first four Championship games.
“I've seen most of the games,” he said. “It's a tough league and to have the start we've had is a bonus for everyone. Everybody is confident and looking forward to all the games that are coming up.
“I'm terrible - I hate going and watching games but it's all new to me coming here so I had to go and watch them, and see what the league was about and what we're going to be up against. So it's been good in a way to experience that from the other side.
“The boys have done really well and the boys that are playing deserve to keep their place and it's up to the guys that are on the sidelines or coming back from injury to fight for their place and wait for their chance and, when that chance comes, to do well enough to take it.
“It was a blow to miss the first few games but I'm back now and looking forward to getting that chance to play in front of the fans.”
Smith has quickly learned just how important the club is in the life of the city - and how much it means to the fans.
He said: “When you're not in the area you hear it's a big club but you don't actually realise until you get here what a big club it is.
“If you go into the city there are always people wearing Norwich shirts. It's a one-club city so there are a lot of followers and a lot of people interested in the club and that's a good thing.
“I think as a football player that's what you thrive on. You want pressure and you want to be involved in big games and playing in games that the fans expect you to win. That's part of the reason I came here. I knew it was a big club and I knew there were expectations here.”