Norwood: I Want the Pressure of Having to Score Goals
Wednesday, 31st Jul 2019 10:24
Town new boy James Norwood is confident he will have no problem coping with the expectancy of supporters looking to him and his goals to provide a quick-fire return to the Championship.
Norwood has arrived at Portman Road and set himself a personal target of achieving a hat-trick of promotions, having helped previous club Tranmere to not only climb out of the National League but also gain League One status in the space of 12 memorable months.
The 28-year-old, who was born on the south coast at Eastbourne, has whetted the fans’ appetite with his hat-trick in the 5-0 win at Colchester, and is not concerned by the fact that the fans see him as their main hope of climbing back to the second tier at the first opportunity.
Norwood, who was a free agent after his Prenton Park contract expired and he rejected a new deal, said: “I didn’t want to sign for a club where there was no expectation and I didn’t want to join a club where the fans thought ‘He’s just another footballer’.
“I want the pressure of having to score goals for a club in order for them to do well. I want to have to play well.
“I don’t want to be the guy who sits on the bench or sits in the stand. I want to be the guy who plays with pressure and that’s just me as a human being. I love pressure and I’m hoping to thrive on it here.”
Norwood is returning to the level where he started out with Exeter 10 years ago and made just three League One starts before moving on to commence a successful spell with Forest Green and then Tranmere.
“My career has come full circle,” he said. “Back then I felt I could cope with that level – or even above – because I felt I had the ability and I was athletically better then as well.
“I’ve since learned more about the game and how to play the game but it has taken me a long time to get back here. I’m looking for the opportunity now to kick on.
“It was a very successful time at Tranmere. We lost one play-off final but won the next two. We were always high in the table and that’s something I want to be doing here.
“We need to be pushing for promotion – in fact we want to win the league. Set yourself a certain standard over the first five or six games and don’t let it drop.
"We’ve got the ability in this squad to beat people week in, week out, and if we don’t do that there will obviously be disappointment.
“I look around [Portman Road] and it’s crazy, it’s so big. With the first home game against Sunderland it should be a full house, so it’s going to be a completely different experience to what I’m used to.
“We had a lot of fans at Tranmere but this is at another level. We’re going to be pushing for the Championship so we’ll need every bit of support we can get. If we can get 23 full houses this season we stand a really good chance.
“I got to know the rest of the guys out in Germany and the trip was good for the squad as a whole.
“Everyone needs to be together throughout the season. We can’t have people disagreeing and we need to be able to sort out any problems quickly.
“The closer you are and the better friends you are, the easier the problems are to iron out. It’s important for us – players, coaching staff and fans – to be one unit and all moving in the right direction.
“I’m the sort of character that likes to talk to people and put myself about, and I felt it was important that I settled as quickly as possible.
“You can see from the couple of games that I have played how I’ve got a good understanding with the lads and you’ll hopefully see more of that, it should just build throughout the season.
“The first thing you need is a good team spirit. Without that, if there are lads that don’t get on and have a problem with each other you’re not going to get very far.
“There’s absolutely none of that in this team. Everyone gets on so well and they build you up a lot here – they tell you that you’re a good player – and that’s something that is going to be vital.
“There are lads here who can go on to play at the top level and they’re going to need nurturing and teaching, and the older pros are very good at that.
“If the younger players want to listen to me I’m more than willing to help them, even if it’s little things like movement. I’ve played in a few games and a few positions.
“I’m at an age now where it’s not just about me; it’s about doing what’s best for the team.
“If I can help someone score some goals and it takes me out of the team – but the team gets promoted – I’ll have done my job.
“After the boys got relegated last season it would have been easy to come back quite morbid and downbeat.
“I missed the start of pre-season training after being involved in the play-offs with Tranmere and then having a holiday, so I don’t know what happened then, but after I arrived the lads were very positive in looking at the season ahead. They know just how important a season it is for us.”
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