Worthy: We’ve yet to see best of Earnie
CHRIS WISE Robert Earnshaw has scored 126 club goals since making his debut for Cardiff as a teenager over eight years ago - but as far as manager Nigel Worthington is concerned we still haven't seen the best of him.
Robert Earnshaw has scored 126 club goals since making his debut for Cardiff as a teenager over eight years ago - but as far as manager Nigel Worthington is concerned we still haven't seen the best of him.
After drawing a blank in his first two games, the Norwich City new boy finally showed supporters what he was capable of on Tuesday night when he notched up a well-taken late double to help his side to their first victory of 2006.
Earnshaw will be a huge success at Carrow Road if he can merely maintain his present career strike-rate, of that there is no doubt.
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But Worthington firmly believes the young Welshman has got the potential to move up to an even higher level with the Canaries - and is convinced his potential £3.5m transfer fee will prove to be money well spent.
"Each game Robert has played for us you are seeing more and more from him," said the City boss. "Every day I work with him in training I am seeing more and more.
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"The reason we brought him to this club is that his potential as a player is great. He has not reached his full potential yet because age and experience hasn't allowed him to do that. What he has achieved up to now is quite a bit, but there is a lot more to come.
"He seems to have been around for a long time, but remember he is still only 24. He has still got his best years ahead of him."
Having opened his City account in the 3-0 victory over Brighton, Earnshaw will now be aiming to keep up the good work against Derby tomorrow - and Worthington feels his new signing will go from strength to strength now that he is beginning to build up an understanding with those around him.
"What you saw on Tuesday night was a reflection of people having had time together, people getting used to each other," he said. "I thought Robert's first goal showed what a bit of time and work on the training ground brings. Darren Huckerby has done what he is good at - he has broken out with the ball, ran a long way with it, looked up and put it on a plate for Robert.
"That sort of thing is down to hard work."
Worthington is clearly expecting goals from his new striker, and plenty of them. But he doesn't expect it to be a one man show.
"All the players here know what Robert is capable of - and they like things like that," he said.
"But it won't just be down to him. You know where I come from - football is a team game. You look at Reading this season, everyone is contributing goals, and it was the same when we won the title a few years back. Yes, I'd love him to go and get 30-40 goals a season - but you'll need 20-30 goals from other departments as well."
As for suggestions that Earnshaw might be a goalscorer, and nothing more than that, he added: "There are not too many teams who can afford to have luxury players these days and Robert certainly isn't that.
"It's not just about scoring goals, he has got his do his bit when we haven't got the ball - and to be fair to the lad he has done that so far.
"He can put in it the back of the net, we know that - but he can also do the ugly work for the team as well.
"Everyone at this club knows what is required on that score. As a team we defend from the front and attack from the back.
"Having talked about Robert it's only fair to give Darren a mention too because his recent performances have been right up there as well. He has been doing his bit going forward and he has been doing his bit defensively as well. That's credit to him."
Huckerby should find himself in direct opposition to former Norwich colleague Marc Edworthy tomorrow, and Worthington commented: "That will be a good contest.
"They know each games well, and they are also good mates, so it will be a nice competition."