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‘People just think I’ve been bombed out’ – Injured City star desperate to prove doubters wrong

Kenny McLean impressed during pre-season - and now hopes to do likewise for Norwich City on his return to full match fitness. Picture: James Wilson/Focus Images

Kenny McLean impressed during pre-season - and now hopes to do likewise for Norwich City on his return to full match fitness. Picture: James Wilson/Focus Images

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Kenny McLean cannot wait to prove his doubters wrong – after some already assumed he hadn’t made the grade at Norwich City.

While the 26-year-old Scot joined the Canaries full-time in the summer after spending the rest of last season back on loan at Aberdeen, his City career stalled following an ankle injury against Stevenage in August.

However, some assumed McLean’s non-appearances for the Championship’s high-flying Canaries were down to his ability rather than fitness – something McLean is desperate to put right now he is on the brink of his first-team return.

“I’ve had people from Scotland saying to me that they’ve been checking the Norwich City team list every weekend and seeing I’ve not been playing,” said McLean, who has made three appearances and one start for City to date.

“Some people are under the impression that I’ve been bombed out, and not been good enough – that’s obviously annoying, because it’s not the case.

Kenny McLean made three appearances - including one start - for Norwich City before an ankle injury curtailed his first half of the season. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus ImagesKenny McLean made three appearances - including one start - for Norwich City before an ankle injury curtailed his first half of the season. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

“I feel I am good enough to make an impact in England and can do well for my club. It’s just about getting back to full fitness and forcing my way into the team.

“I had a good pre-season and was in the first team. Then I picked up an ankle injury, and the initial diagnosis was that I’d be out for four weeks – but then I required an operation in October, so it took nearly 18 weeks and that has been really frustrating.”

McLean played the first half for City Under-23s’ against Wolfsburg on Thursday in his comeback, and hopes for at least an hour when he reappears against Sunderland U23 tonight.

“I’m just so keen to get back and involved. There is nothing worse when you move to a new club – and to a new league – and you don’t play. I just wanted to find a rhythm and felt I was on my way to doing that. And then the injury struck.”

McLean’s desperation to get back is understandable considering the meteoric rise of Daniel Farke’s first team, as well as what could be on offer come the end of the season.

“I’ve been to most of our games and it’s a great club with a brilliant support,” added McLean. “With us being up at the top of the league, Carrow Road has been absolutely buzzing and the fact we have scored three or four very late goals to win points has just added to the drama and excitement.

“Teemu Pukki has scored a few goals for us, and he has been in superb form. He’s been first-class for us. Longer term, it’s about building on the first half of the season and winning promotion to the Premier League. That’s what we all hope for and I want to play my part.”

While Norwich come first, McLean is also hoping for a return to Scotland action as they prepare for a guaranteed Euro 2020 play-off spot.

“I’m a proud Scotsman, and really want to be involved,” McLean told Scotland’s Sunday Post. “Obviously I need to get back to playing regularly and must cement a place in the Norwich team before I can think about anything else.

“But if I achieve that, then I have to have my sights set on getting into the national squad. I was involved in the tour of South America at the end of last season, and absolutely loved that. It was a brilliant experience. I have five caps but I want many, many more.

“We all know what’s at stake, and how long it’s been since we qualified for a major tournament. Can we be the first group of players in more than 20 years to pull it off? Yes, we can. We have confidence, belief and ability.”

For the latest Norwich City news and opinion follow Michael Bailey on the following channels…

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