Spanish pundit's verdict on Velasco

Norwich's new Spanish hardman defender Juan Velasco has been backed to take the Championship by storm.

Norwich's new Spanish hardman defender Juan Velasco has been backed to take the Championship by storm.

Club officials are working on international clearance for the former Celta Vigo, Atletico Madrid and Espanyol free agent to potentially make his debut in Saturday's home league game against Barnsley.

Glenn Roeder handed the 30-year-old a three month contract after Velasco impressed during a recent trial - a wise move in the eyes of Skysports' Spanish football expert Guillem Balague.

The respected journalist and broadcaster watched Velasco at close quarters last season for his hometown club Espanyol.


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“I know of Velasco and his career in La Liga very well,” said Balague. “He is a very clever player and I think it's a very good move for him to try to break into English football via the Championship. He is maybe not the quickest player you will ever see, I think it's fair to say, but he more than makes up for that in his footballing ability. He is intelligent and he plays the game in an intelligent way - the kind of right back that does not make mistakes and reads the game extremely well. His positional sense has always been excellent.”

Roeder drafted in the ex-Spanish international when Middlesbrough loan defender Matthew Bates was forced to return to Teeside last week after suffering fresh knee damage in City's 1-1 league draw against Hull.

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Velasco started his career as a wide man for boyhood club Sevilla before making his name at Celta Vigo. The converted defender appeared in four consecutive UEFA Cup campaigns and made seven Champions League appearances in a successful five year spell at the northern Spanish club.

Velasco's versatility earned him a spot in Jose Antonio Camacho's Spanish squad for Euro 2000 - the Spanish losing to eventual winners France in the quarter finals.

“Personally I have always thought his quality on the ball was so good that he could operate in midfield as well,” admitted Balague. “Maybe this is something he can develop in his game in England. I think the move could be a very good one all round - I hope it is.”

The rugged right back made a high profile switch to Atletico Madrid after Celta were relegated in 2004 - making 46 appearances in a two year spell.

He picked up nine yellow cards in 25 senior appearances at Espanyol last season but was not involved in the Barcelona-based club's UEFA Cup final defeat to Sevilla at Hampden.

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