Norwich City new boy Joseph Yobo is up for the survival challenge
If Joseph Yobo was happy to settle for a quiet life he would not have swapped trophy-hunting with Fenerbache for a Premier League survival scrap with Norwich City.
The 33-year-old could make his Canaries’ debut against title-challenging Manchester City this afternoon should Ryan Bennett not recover from the thigh injury which limited his time on the training pitches of Colney in recent days. Yobo’s last Premier League action came at Everton in May 2010, since when the Nigerian international has sampled the high life in Istanbul.
The powerful defender won the league and two cups in Turkey along with three seasons contesting Europe’s premier club competitions which culminated in a run to last year’s Europa League semi-finals. Yobo, however, is up for a fresh challenge and under no illusions what is required by Chris Hughton.
“I still have ambitions in my career,” he said. “The manager convinced me to come here, but it didn’t take me long to make a decision once I had spoken to the gaffer. Speaking to him on the phone it was an easy decision to make. Basically he wants me to bring my experience. He must have seen some of the games I played this season and he knows about me from the Premier League. I had offers elsewhere but I chose Norwich because I wanted to come back to the Premier League. I know this league very well, it is probably the best league and I wanted to challenge myself in a place I know very well.
“I swapped the Premier League to play European competition and Turkey was an amazing experience to play for a huge club like Fenerbache. For me it was a dream come true to win trophies and compete in Europe. Now I am here to help the cause and I am ready if required.”
Yobo could find himself paired alongside Cameroon international Seb Bassong if Bennett is ruled out for Manchester City’s visit and the former Evertonian is convinced there is enough quality in the Canaries’ squad to achieve their ultimate objective.
“I haven’t played against him internationally but I would have done a couple of times in the Premier League and he is a good player,” said Yobo. “We can work together to achieve what we want and I have to use my experience. It will take a little time but once I have settled in and got to know the lads I can make an impact. They have welcomed me. It is a good atmosphere. I’ve played with some of the boysand football is a small world. It has been easy for me to settle.
Nathan (Redmond) is one who I didn’t know how good he was until I worked with him (in training) but when he gets on the ball he can do the tricks and the magic. There are some good players but having trained with Nathan he is very good. On his day he can cause a lot of problems.”
Yobo knows Norwich will have to carry an attacking threat to ruffle Manchester City and their African player-of-the-year Yaya Toure.
“He is probably one of the best in the world,” said Yobo. “Very, very good. He is a powerful midfielder and it is a credit to him how his career has developed. For what he has done since he came to the Premier League he deserves that sort of recognition. They are a great team. I know the situation here and that Norwich want to stay up so it will always be tough against those sides. Probably on their day they are as good as any side but my experience with Everton showed it depends how you turn up. It is never easy but you can get results. They have proven how good they are. They were champions the year before, they have great players but this is football. It is 11 versus 11. It is not easy playing anyone in the Premier League but we can surprise people.”