Steven Whittaker eyes a key role in Norwich City’s Championship fightback

Norwich's Steven Whittaker aims to nail down a regular spot in Neil Adams' starting line up. Picture by Stefano Gnech/Focus Images Ltd Norwich's Steven Whittaker aims to nail down a regular spot in Neil Adams' starting line up. Picture by Stefano Gnech/Focus Images Ltd

Wednesday, July 23, 2014
11:29 AM

Steven Whittaker is ready to cement his position as Norwich City’s number one right-back.

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The Scottish international looks set to be the man in possession with captain Russell Martin switched to central defence and Whittaker knows he must seize his chance ahead of the Championship kick-off on August 10.

Whittaker backed Neil Adams to succeed Chris Hughton when he took over for the final five matches of the Premier League season but the 30-year-old is taking nothing for granted.

“I think Russ himself would say he wants to play at centre back now. That is where he operates for Scotland so if it means I can get more of a chance at right-back then of course that is good for me,” he said.

“It seemed the previous manager always wanted Russ in his team so that limited the chances I had but whether it is Russ or someone else competition is always going to be there for the shirt at this club.

“I’ll just keep my head down, work hard and hopefully the opportunities come my way this year. I am looking forward to working with the manager for the whole of this season and hopefully it can be a success. We knew it was make-or-break time when Neil came in last season and we tried to give it a good bash.

“I think the performances did improve but we didn’t get those results we needed against some very good teams so we fell a little bit short.”

Whittaker was on target in the opening practice match of City’s two-date Italian tour, which concludes with Friday’s friendly against SC Bastia after scheduled games against Novara and Livorno were shelved. The former Rangers’ defender insists all that matters is City hit the ground running at Wolves next month.

“The only thing that matters is we get off to a flying start,” he said. “It was nice to be involved in an attacking sense the other day. They were not up to much but I had a couple of chances and managed to see one hit the back of the net which was great.

“Maybe it hasn’t worked out with the standard of opposition so far but really it is all about working our way up to be ready for that first league game.

“That is the most important. We have all been part of pre-seasons when you might have won all the friendlies and you don’t start the season well and vice versa. The facilities here are excellent.

“We’re in a nice hotel and it’s a relaxed environment. It gives us a lot of time to come away and be with the rest of the boys which is good for morale. It’s definitely a worthwhile exercise.”

19 comments

  • After `The Italian Job`, I`d select "Worried" Mattias. The Nogdam End Sheepbreeders` Society organize their pre-season tupping tournament better.

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    Mad Brewer

    Thursday, July 24, 2014

  • 17 days to go? Cant decide if im nervous, excited or worried ;)

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    Mattias333

    Thursday, July 24, 2014

  • Totally get what you are saying Michigan but I get this horrid feeling he could turn into another Bassong if he was given the captain's arm band. One minute hes a hero, putting in solid performances, the next he is having a few wobbles and people blame the captains arm band for this drop as its the easiest thing to do. Natural leaders always work out the best ones. Grant Holt etc....didnt walk in an instantly get the arm band. It grew on them over time as their character grew at NCFC.

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    Mattias333

    Thursday, July 24, 2014

  • wivenhoebudgie

    Wednesday, July 23, 2014

  • I wonder about Ruddy as a captain. I know it is not usual for the GK to be captain, but he seems a strong personality, and he certainly sees everything going on in the field, plus he usually can be relied upon to lead by the example of a good performance. Maybe as captain, would improve JR further, and allow the on-field players to focus purely on their game? Discussion?

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    MichiganCanary

    Wednesday, July 23, 2014

  • It`s not as if his snout is short of available troughs.

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    Mad Brewer

    Wednesday, July 23, 2014

  • Tried to say I know you didn`t mean it that way, jigs69, but... the usual. The inept recruitment of Calderwood was certain to make Holt want out. If he`d stayed one more season, we`d still be in the Premiership. Bowkettfuls of ineptitude in that appointment. Hyacinth should be made to resign.

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    Mad Brewer

    Wednesday, July 23, 2014

  • Oops! You're right there MY and MB - a little bit of an oversight with Holt, but hopefully you get my drift!

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    jigs69

    Wednesday, July 23, 2014

  • Granted Russell Martin didn't play well last season - but who did within the Hughton regime? Always been a great ambassador for the club.

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    Mellow_Yellow

    Wednesday, July 23, 2014

  • M_Y; you are right, Grant Holt was a superb captain, like the other two mentioned here. Perhaps you overlooked him, jigs? I suppose it`s more usual to have a midfielder or defender as skipper. I think an influential Captain is very important. Losing that aspect of Holt (and of Malky before him) damaged the team. NCFC seems more comfortable with a little bit of history being repeated than learning from it.

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    Mad Brewer

    Wednesday, July 23, 2014

  • Great pic of "Wor Stevie" taking the Ginge out. Like the way he does nae bother wearing shorts. You've got to be frightened of a 6'2" Scotsman bearing down on you in his skidders....

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    Timbo

    Wednesday, July 23, 2014

  • Holt wasn't bad as a Captain was he jigs?

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    Mellow_Yellow

    Wednesday, July 23, 2014

  • We need a captain in the mould of Forbes and Mackay who led through blood, sweat and tears, fought to the bitter end and instilled fear in the opposition. Sadly Malky was the last real captain we had.

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    jigs69

    Wednesday, July 23, 2014

  • I've no issues with Whittaker. I know a lot of those who sit around me in the lower Barclay do. Each to their own of course but when fit hes more than a decent right back. Martin can equally push him for that spot as well if Turner and Bennett are on form. However I would love to see a true leader come in at the back. This isnt a negative or knock of any of our back line before anyone claims it to be so. Im sure Martin is a good captain as being a captain isnt just about shouting at everyone on a match day so dont think im knocking him either. I'd love a centre back who really commands respect, been there, done that etc, someone nobody has to worry about as he will just get on with business consistently regardless who we are playing. I made this point before Bassong was appointed Captain. While im NOT for a second saying "sign this player" as personally hes well past his best, I'd like a Richard Dunne type at the heart of the defence. Can look after himself and certainly looks the type you wouldn't mess with. Decent with the ball at his feet, looking to pass it out rather than panic clearance (like many of our current and past centre backs have). Hes also a natural leader as well. Organises the back line without it hurting his own performances (i.e - Bassong last season). I like Turner but he blows very hot and cold. Very good championship level defender though so not someone im against having in the starting line up. Bennett im a huge fan of and really believe this could be the season he takes massive strides in his career and fill the potential talked of in him. Russell Martin is always reliable at centre back and never lets anyone down. Thats 3 good centre back options for 2 potential slots, but i'd still like to see an experienced leader come in. Cant really think of any potential suitors though of the top of my head. Dunne will be surplus to requirements at QPR now they have Ferdinand and Caulker but Dunne's very much past his best these days so certainly a couple of years too late there.

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    Mattias333

    Wednesday, July 23, 2014

  • Oh, and lest we forget, it is essential that we hit the ground running..... A much under-used cliché, IMHO. Glad to see it revived here. I would like to see it used to club-record levels. Some might insist on it. Next project: the morale of the long-suffering fans. With or without `nice hotels` and `relaxed environments`. There`s so much **** being taken, most fans must be dehydrated.

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    Mad Brewer

    Wednesday, July 23, 2014

  • For all his abilities, SW is now 30 and several others in our defence are also getting on in years. If not now, in January I would like to see some younger blood being brought in alongside Ryan Bennett and Olson. Otherwise if and when we do go back up we will once again be lacking in defence. If we do well in the next few months, players will be more prepared to come to Norwich than at present where they face uncertainty as to where the club is heading. That is not knocking NCFC but a pragmatic view. I want to see us back in the Premier.

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    andy

    Wednesday, July 23, 2014

  • You are quite right, Dubya. Just seemed to me that Bambi anticipates the RB berth by right\default. I think Cafu is a good football pro, but not the most inspiring of footballers. Maybe, when all the Hughtoxins have been dialysed out, he`ll be OK? Strachan`s usually a good judge. There were few real candidates for Captain and, I suppose, Russell is the `safe` option. Howson may have been the alternative? Or even Bradders....

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    Mad Brewer

    Wednesday, July 23, 2014

  • Brew, Cafu has been given the armband, so I'd say he is pretty much a shoe-in for the starting line up. I don't disagree with your selections, but, I wouldn't hold my breath hoping to see it either.

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    Dubai Canary

    Wednesday, July 23, 2014

  • I hope E. Benno converts to RB and R. Benno goes to CB alongside Turner. Cafu and Bambi were both disappointing last season. Neither should expect a starting place as if by entitlement - or by default.

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    Mad Brewer

    Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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