Norwich City defender Bennett out to prove his worth
PUBLISHED: 09:52 03 March 2012
PA Archive/Press Association Images
Defender Ryan Bennett has revealed how he was overlooked by Norwich City - five years before becoming potentially their record signing.
The 21-year-old centre-back finally began training with his new team-mates at Colney on Thursday, after completing a month on loan back at Peterborough United, and was in the travelling party for today’s Premier League game against Stoke City at the Britannia Stadium (3pm).
The Canaries recruited Bennett from Posh in the closing minutes of the January transfer window for an undisclosed fee, reported to be in the region of £3m with possible add-ons.
But they missed the chance to take him on as a teenager after he was offloaded by rivals Ipswich Town in 2007.
“Interestingly, when I was 16 I got released from Ipswich,” said Bennett. “My mate was at Norwich, Tom Miller, and I came here for a couple of weeks’ training but nothing came of it and that’s when I ended up going straight to Grimsby.”
Miller moved to Glasgow Rangers in 2008 and now plays in the Conference for Newport County, but Bennett has a second chance with City, and already feels at home.
He said: “I knew the surroundings anyway from being a young lad and playing for Ipswich and coming down here, but it’s finally nice to be here after a long time and meet all the lads and get on the training pitch.
“My dad lives 30 minutes away from here so it’s perfect for me. My family are from here, so it’s not a problem in that respect.
“They live in Hemsby. I’ve lived here since I was 14, in and around Hemsby, so I know the area.
“But eventually I’ll be moving up. I have a girlfriend and a son so I’ll be moving up with my family soon enough.”
Bennett bade farewell to Posh by setting up a late equaliser in last week’s 1-1 Championship draw at Doncaster, but now is the time to look forward.
He said: “It was a good send-off. We got a good result at Bristol City and we got a point at Doncaster, which maybe should have been more so to sign off in that way was great.
“For me now it’s time to move on. Now I’m at Norwich I just want to concentrate on that and hopefully progress through to the team here.
“I’ve played every game this season for Peterborough. I think I missed 15 minutes so I’m match fit but the Premier League’s a different level and takes a different toll on you, so it’s imperative for me to go out there on the training pitch and get a few sessions in with the lads and see where we go from there.”
Bennett is not taking first team football for granted, especially after witnessing City’s performance in the 2-1 home defeat by Manchester United last Sunday.
He said: “They’ve done brilliantly and everyone’s seen that. I was at the game on Sunday and all the lads did brilliantly. I’m sure they’ll continue to do that. In training they’re sharp so it will be hard for me to get in, but I hope I get the chance soon enough and take it.”
The lack of a regular centre-back pairing has been a feature of City’s season as injuries have taken their toll on Elliott Ward, Zak Whitbread and Daniel Ayala.
“It can makes things tricky but I think with the quality of players at Norwich, anyone who steps in is going to do well. There have been a couple of injuries but in the game I saw on Sunday, both centre-halves did brilliantly,” said Bennett.