Norwich City defender Steven Whittaker is primed to go on the offensive at Manchester United
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Steven Whittaker is prepared to lead from the front at Norwich City after being brought back in from the cold by Neil Adams.
The Scottish international was on the periphery under Chris Hughton but aims to play his part in the defining moments of City’s fight for Premier League survival.
The 29-year-old’s spirit of adventure helped drag City back into last weekend’s game against Liverpool with a deep cross converted by Gary Hooper.
Whittaker’s link up play with Robert Snodgrass was a prominent feature down Norwich’s right-flank and the former Rangers’ man will need no invitation to range forward at Old Trafford after his late-season reprieve by Adams.
“Would I have played at this stage under the previous manager? Who knows? Possibly not,” he said. “I guess it would have depended on performances and results when it came to minutes on the pitch. I had a little run in the team before Christmas and then found myself out of the team and I was probably in once or twice since then so it is hard to find that consistency when you are pulled in and out. I feel I am doing okay now and need to keep it going until the end.
“We are trying to press teams higher up the park and win the ball in better areas. Before we sat off a little bit and when we won the ball back we found it harder to get near the opposition goal. When we do win it back now it allows us to try and score some goals and we managed to do that. For me attacking and getting forward is part of my game. I enjoy setting up goals.”
Whittaker has not lost any sleep this week worrying about the negative impact of a regime change at Manchester United and Ryan Giggs’ internal promotion to replace countryman David Moyes.
“It is hard to make anything of it. We are concentrating on us this weekend and by that I mean we have to just take our second half display against Liverpool into this game,” he said. “I don’t know what impact it will have or if it is the worst time to be playing them. That remains to be seen. No-one can say in advance how it will go on the day. We would have done our homework on the team that had previously played before in recent weeks so we don’t know what is going to come at us but we know it will be hard.
“I’m sure Ryan Giggs and his coaches are their own men. They have been there for a number of years. They will know what it is all about and there’ll be a different atmosphere around the place because the fans will look to get behind Ryan Giggs. That can almost edge us on a little bit if we start the game well and keep the crowd quiet.”