Elliott Bennett takes small comfort from finally making his Norwich City return
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Admittedly, there wasn’t much competition – but it’s safe to say Elliott Bennett’s return to first-team action was a definite highlight from Sunday’s damp squib of a Premier League farewell for Norwich City.
The winger played the entire 90 minutes of the Canaries’ opening fixture, when Ricky van Wolfswinkel’s debut goal brought a seemingly useful draw with Everton. Only one of those two things would be seen again come the final day of the campaign.
If a week is said to be a long time in football, it’s fair to say the last 36 would have seen entire civilisations rise and fall. Still, Bennett was all too aware of what has gone on in his on-pitch absence – and the fact his supporting role ended in consolation.
“It was a lot of emotions mixed into one today, really,” said the 25-year-old, who missed all but the first and last games of the season due to a knee ligament injury.
“Obviously the overriding one is of disappointment. It’s been a bad season personally and for the football club as well.
“And then there’s the emotion of being delighted that I’m back fit and I’ve said it before many times, I owe a lot to the medical team at this football club, the sport science department. They’ve got me back and I’m just happy I managed to get a game in before the end of the season.”
Which must leave Bennett itching for the new season – almost certainly more than most: “I’ll just be smiling as always next season,” he added.
“Just to be fit and healthy, doing what I love.
“It’s been taken away from me this season through injury and I have tried to be as good a supporter to the lads as possible. But it’s hard because all I want to do is play.
“I’m going to have a good summer, try to get my head down and work hard, keep myself fit and hopefully come back raring to go.”
As for Sunday’s performance, Bennett believes City did their bit.
“It’s hard, you know, when you’ve had that disappointment in midweek and we knew it was an impossible task to turn it around.
“So we just wanted to go out there and play with pride as much as we could, and I think we did that. The wonder goal by Aaron Ramsey set them on their way.
“But I don’t think we disgraced ourselves. We showed that we care and we’ve tried to keep going until the end of the game.
“We all know it’s just not been good enough this season and we’ve got to go away, have a good look at ourselves and make sure we come back and we’re ready.
“We didn’t create a lot of chances and that’s the way it has been this season. And that’s why we are where we are. The table doesn’t lie and there are a lot of disappointed lads in there.
“The lads will always dig in and try our best, but it’s not been good enough this season and what we’ve got to make sure we do is come back in pre-season all ready to fight for the cause and to get us back to the Premier League.”