Worthington offers Farke words of wisdom for promotion race during return to Norwich City
- Credit: ECN
Nigel Worthington has been sharing his promotion experience with Norwich City head coach Daniel Farke, after being invited back to the club’s Colney training centre to speak to the Championship leaders.
The former Canaries manager, who steered City to the 2002 play-off final and the second-tier title in 2004, presented long-serving midfielder Alex Tettey with a commemorative framed shirt to mark his 200th appearance earlier this season.
The former Northern Ireland boss follows in the footsteps of the likes of Jeremy Goss, Dave Stringer, Bryan Gunn and Grant Holt in returning to the club this season, who all presented shirts to the club’s debutants this season as part of efforts to bring legendary figures closer to the club.
“It was really good speaking to Daniel, manager to ex-manager, as it were, and just see where he’s at, if he’s enjoying it and what his thoughts are,” explained Worthington, who still lives in Norfolk.
“We have very similar thoughts in how we approach the game and he is a very upbeat, positive individual. Hopefully he can drive the lads on and upwards for the next 11 games and gain promotion.
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“It’s the first time I’ve met Stuart (Webber, sporting director), he gave me the invite to come here for Alex Tettey’s presentation, so very impressed with everything I’ve seen in the shape of a club moving forward.”
The 57-year-old former Sheffield Wednesday defender, who was in charge of Norwich between December 2000 and October 2006, had the chance to see the building work and improvements at Colney which are taking shape.
“It’s an absolute pleasure to be invited to come back, to see some of the old faces and to see the transformation within the training ground. It’s something very special,” Worthington said.
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“Having driven in this morning it’s unbelievable the way it’s changing and it’s great for the football club because it’s the way the game is moving.
“To look at the pitches, I thought we had very good pitches 14 or 15 years ago, but to look at the pitches now it looks an absolute carpet.
“So credit to the football club, it’s great to see everywhere being developed.”
The Northern Irishman has kept a close eye on City’s remarkable progress under Farke this season, leading the Championship by two points after 35 games, notching an impressive 71 goals.
Asked what he said to the Canaries players, he explained: “I think it was just a case of I’ve been there, some of those haven’t been there, just carry on doing what they’re doing. There’s no magic wand, they’re winning football matches.
“I’ve seen Norwich City a number of times home and away this year and I’ve always been very impressed with the style of play, the energy they put into the game and the results they’ve achieved up to now.
“So if they carry that on for the next few weeks or so they’re going to be in a fantastic position for the whole of, not only Norwich as a city but also the county of Norfolk – and there will be a lot of green and yellow being worn.”
Looking back on his team which took Norwich to the top flight in 2004, including Darren Huckerby, Craig Fleming, Adam Drury and Iwan Roberts, Worthington can see similarities between his title winners and the current Canaries.
“I had a wonderful group of lads back when we won promotion in 2004, a wonderful group of lads,” the former City boss continued. “I see a very similar group with Daniel now, that there’s a real camaraderie, a real closeness, a real bond there.
“That’s something that’s very, very important and the reason they’ve had an excellent season up to now, and like all people close to Norwich City as a football club we hope that they can carry that on for the next 11 games and achieve what everybody wants.
“Their work ethic, the way the players enjoy their football and the energy they put into the game is fantastic, so you’ve got three wonderful things there which is part of a winning formula – and if they can keep that going hopefully it will be all smiles around Norwich City and the county as a whole.”
Worthington was pleased to present former Norway midfielder Tettey with his commemorative shirt as well, with the 32-year-old making his 200th appearance during the 1-0 win at Blackburn just before Christmas.
The 32-year-old has missed City’s last three games but is back in full training and looking to add to his 207 appearances since signing in 2012, placing him 60th in the club’s all-time appearances list.
Speaking to the Canaries’ official Youtube channel, Worthington added: “For anybody to spend that amount of time at a football club now is very, very rare and for Alex to have achieved 207 games up to now is a fantastic achievement.
“It speaks volumes not only for him but the club also in wanting his services, so absolutely delighted that I was asked to come and present Alex with his shirt.”
• You can watch video of the visit above, as well as Huckerby’s appearance on the Pink Un Show at the top of this story