Surman has an extra incentive
PUBLISHED: 12:12 20 December 2011
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Midfielder Andrew Surman is relishing his second chance in Premier League football with Norwich City - as he prepares to face the club that gave him his first brief taste of top-flight action.
The Canaries face Wolves at Molineux tonight (7.45pm) with Surman hoping for a fifth successive first team ap-pearance after spending much of the autumn on the substitutes’ bench.
He spent the 2009-10 season at Wolves after a £1.2m move from Southampton, but manager Mick McCarthy gave him just seven Premier League outings, only three of which were starts, before selling him on to the Canaries for a similar fee.
Promotion with Paul Lambert’s men gave Surman another stab at the big time but there was another false start when he was dropped after the 1-0 home defeat by West Bromwich Albion in September and sat on the bench for the next eight games without getting a kick.
However, restored to the City side for the 2-1 home win over Queens Park Rangers, the 25-year-old believes he is finally getting to grips with life among the elite.
“It’s great. It’s frustrating not playing every week but now I’ve got my chance and I feel I’m taking it,” he said.
“If I can stay in the team as long as I can and we keep winning games and picking up points, it’s better for me and better for the club as well.
“I feel good. Every player who’s not playing wants to get in the starting eleven so it’s great I’ve managed to get back in. My motivation is to stay in that starting eleven and keep picking up points for the team.
“It’s the nature of football, especially in the Premier League with big squads. You don’t get many chances. So when you do come in the team, you’ve got to take your chances. I’m sure the players that aren’t in are probably thinking the same thing.”
Surman has no hard feelings about his lack of opportunities at Wolves.
He said: “It was a frustrating time. I didn’t play many times and I was there only a year but I still learned from my time there.
“It’s a fantastic stadium and a bit of a cauldron. It will be very intense. They’ve got a great following, very loud. It’s going to be a great atmosphere but we’ve played in really big atmospheres before so I suppose you have to handle that and if we can keep them quiet for the first 15 or 20 minutes it should hold us in good stead.
“We need to keep it tight and I’m sure we’ll have to withstand a little bit of pressure but if we can do that again, I’m sure we’ll be all right.
“We’ve got such a good following away and at home and when you go to somewhere like Molineux, where the atmosphere’s great anyway, it should be a great spectacle.”
A 1-1 draw at Everton moved City up to ninth in the Premier League table at the weekend, and they go into this evening’s match six points and eight places ahead of their hosts.
Said Surman: “It was tough. Everton put us under a lot of pressure, but I think we withstood it quite well and hav-ing gone a goal up we were quite disappointed not to hold on in the end, but a point at Goodison Park was probably a fair result. It might be a massive point at the end of the season.
“It’s great to see us in the top half. But you don’t want to get carried away because there’s still a lot of the season left and we need to make sure we’re in that position at the end of the season.
“It doesn’t really mean too much now. We just have to keep consistently picking up points.
“I suppose no one really knew what to expect because no one had really played in the Premier League when we got promoted. I think we were taking each game as it came at the start and there is always that unknown element when you’re thinking ‘How good is the standard going to be?’ but I think we’ve held our own in most games, even against the top four.”
Lambert has intimated that he may make changes between matches over the Christmas period, with tonight’s game the second of five in 17 days.
“It’s very tough with a lot of games but we’ve got a good strength in depth here,” said Surman. “If players have tired legs there are always players to come in and do a good job.”