Surman ready for rough stuff
Midfielder Andrew Surman insists Norwich City are ready to stand up to the physical challenge of the Premier League, starting against Stoke City on Sunday.
The Canaries won plaudits for their enterprising approach in the 1-1 draw against Wigan Athletic on Saturday but Surman says his team-mates won’t be afraid to mix it when the need arises.
City have shown during their successive promotions that they are able to stand up and be counted against physical sides but the former Wolves and Southampton man believes they will have to call on that spirit to compete once again.
“It will probably be more physical (in the Premier League) but we’ve got to stand up to that,” said Surman. “We played teams last season that were physical and we stood up to that and got points off them.
“We’re not going into the league thinking that we’re going to be playing fancy football every week. Everyone has got to compete and we’ve got to earn the right to play football.”
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Surman started on the left-hand side of a midfield diamond against Wigan on Saturday but realises City will have to be versatile in terms of their formations against some of the top-flight’s leading lights.
However, the 24-year-old knows that it doesn’t matter what system manager Paul Lambert decides to employ if his players are not on the top of their game.
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“Different teams pose different threats – we’ll work on different formations during the season but I suppose formations can only get you so far,” he said. “The players on the pitch have got to do the business.
“If things aren’t going well you’ve got to be able to adapt. We showed last season that we can adapt and I think whatever happens the players have got enough nouse about them to be able to change formation.
“Formations can only get you so far though - it’s up to the players out there on the pitch to do the business.”
So much of the pre-season talk centred around City targetting 17th place and while Surman admitted that is their main priority, he is looking to finish as high up the table as they can.
“Staying the Premiership is the target so I suppose 17th place would do. We’re going to go into every game believing that we can get something whoever we’re playing but we would obviously take 17th.
“But we’ll keep going as much as we can and see how high we can go.”
Surman wants to make up for lost time in the Premier League after his unhappy time there with Wolves.
But he admitted that his first priority is to nail down a starting place, which is by no means certain given the arrivals of the likes of Elliott Bennett and Anthony Pilkington in the wide areas this summer.
“I want another opportunity to show what I can do. I was frustrated at Wolves and I didn’t really get the chance to properly try and prove myself.
“I’m looking forward to this season – no-one is guaranteed their place in the team so I’ve just got to try and play as well as I can and keep my place.”
Surman said the new arrivals have settled quickly into the City squad but revealed that Marc Tierney is still the joker in the dressing room.
Fans perhaps won’t be surprised by that given the free entertainment he provided to the Carrow Road crowd after the floodlight failure in the pre-season game against Real Zaragoza.
“There’s a good number of characters in the dressing room,” said Surman. “The fans will know about Marc Tierney but everyone is quite light-hearted. He (Tierney) is good banter but I haven’t been on the end of any practical jokes – I think he’s scared of me!”