Crofts is rewarded for his hard work

Andrew Crofts took his Championship goal tally to six with the second-half brace that gave Norwich City their first double of the season – and was hailed by his manager as one of the best midfielders in the division.

The Wales international scored with clincical finishes after two David Fox corners that Sheffield United failed to deal with, either side of a goal by former City loan striker Ched Evans. Afterwards Crofts saluted the collective will that brought the Canaries their sixth away victory of the campaign.

'We were always in the game and we showed a never-say-attitude,' he said.

'We kept going right until the end and got our reward. It was a bit scrappy in the first half as they came out with a gameplan to stop us playing and they were pretty direct. But it opened up a bit in the second half, we played some nice football and got the win.'

The winner came 10 minutes from time and Crofts admitted: 'I think the second goal gave me the most pleasure because it was quite close to the end and I was just hoping that that would be the winner.

'I've always said before that goals are a bonus to my game and I like to think that I bring other things to the team but six isn't bad so far and I want to build on that and keep playing well.'

City manager Paul Lambert was unusually effusive in praising his matchwinner.

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'He's created a niche for himself. I think he's one of the best midfielders in the league, coming from League One,' said Lambert. 'Most of the lads are untried at this level but, my word, they've taken to it. They have great desire, great hunger. Give me a footballer with hunger and desire and a bit of ability and you've got a player on your hands.

'His all-round game is top class. I could be biased, and every manager will have their own perception of the individual, but my view is he's becoming a really, really top footballer.'

Crofts arrived from Brighton in the summer and Lambert is trying to sign one of his former team-mates in Seagulls winger Elliott Bennett.

'I played with Benno last year and he is a great player,' said Crofts. 'I don't know what's been going on and whether we are going to get him but he is doing great for Brighton and he would definitely be a good signing. He's a good lad as well.'