Spillane - I’ll prove the boss wrong

David Cuffley Michael Spillane is a man with a mission - to prove Norwich City manager Glenn Roeder wrong. Spillane, 19, and striker Chris Martin took the brunt of Roeder's often stinging criticism of the young players he inherited last season while the City boss extolled the virtues of his Premier League loan teenagers.

David Cuffley

Michael Spillane is a man with a mission - to prove Norwich City manager Glenn Roeder wrong.

Spillane, 19, and striker Chris Martin took the brunt of Roeder's often stinging criticism of the young players he inherited last season while the City boss extolled the virtues of his Premier League loan teenagers.

But the Republic of Ireland Under-21 international is determined to put the record straight over any question marks over his character and commitment.


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Spillane, among the City players meeting fans at the Royal Norfolk Show, said: “I've been working hard over the break and putting the work in and I hope to be playing at the start of the season.

“It's a massive season for me. I'm going to come out of the blocks, I want to be playing the first game of the season and I want to be playing every game of the season. That's my goal. I'm not going to accept anything less. I just want to play.”

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Spillane made six appearances in the final days of the Peter Grant-Jim Duffy reign last season, but played just twice after Roeder's appointment - in the 3-0 defeat at Plymouth and the 2-1 FA Cup exit at Bury.

“It's hard for young ones to break in and keep their place and they need to work hard to get in the team and stay in the team and that's something I'm aiming to do,” said Spillane, who was stung by Roeder's suggestion that City's youngsters had been having too easy a time.

“I thought it was harsh because no matter what, I always give 110 per cent, and for someone to tell me I haven't been, it hurt a lot,” he said.

“In the end it makes me try harder and if I've got to prove him wrong that's what I'll do because I'm not the sort of character to back down and just hide under a rock. I'll come out and do my bit.

“I don't know why he said what he said but I feel I've always tried a million per cent and I need to prove to him that's the sort of character I am.”

Spillane, who has made 18 appearances in all since his senior debut in 2006, starts the final year of his City contract when the players return to training next Tuesday.

“I've got a year left and even if I had three years left it's still a massive year for me,” he said.

“I want to be playing first team football regularly this season because I feel I'm good enough and fit enough, so that's what I'm going to be aiming to do and hopefully earn a new contract in the process.”

Spillane's versatility has seen him play in three different positions during his first team career, at full-back, centre-back and in central midfield, but it has not earned him an extended run.

“It is hard for me, what position I play. I still don't know exactly but in the long run I think I want to be playing centre-back,” he said. “I think that will probably be my main position when I get a bit older and gain a bit more experience. It's just hard at my age to be playing regular first team football at centre-back.

“It's the same sort of thing with Ireland. I went away with the under-21s in the summer to a tournament in Malaysia and I played centre-back and centre midfield. They don't know either, but I think in the long run it will be centre-back.”

Spillane hopes to get the chance to stake his claim during City's pre-season games.

“The main thing is I want to be breaking into Norwich City first team. If you impress in those games it's only going to do you good to start the first game of the season or be involved,” he said.

Roeder said last week there were “a couple of obvious players” he wanted to make the grade this season and appeared to be referring to Spillane and Martin.

He said: “I want both of those players this year to be involved in the squad. If I end up with just one of the two making it I will be pleased and if neither of them make it I will be really disappointed.

“But the blame, if there is to be any blame, will fall solely at their feet, for not taking hold of the bit when they have been shown what is required.”

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