Norwood: Town Move Has Reinvigorated Me
Thursday, 1st Aug 2019 09:23
Recent recruit James Norwood says the move to Town has given him a new lease of life and made him believe he can sample life in English football’s second tier – and even higher – for the first time.
Asked if he believed his move from Tranmere could mean instant promotion to the Championship, he replied: “I’m hoping so. If we get promoted and I score a lot of goals here I’ll be expecting to play in the Championship.
“I could have joined a Championship club with players on massive money that cost millions of pounds and in that situation you’re expendable. I want to play as much football as I can and hopefully I can do that that with Ipswich over the next three years.
“Once my mind was set on not staying at Tranmere it was an easy decision to make to come to Ipswich.
“There was only one club in my head after I spoke to the gaffer and he told me how he wanted to play and about his plans for the team and where the club could go. It was a no-brainer.
“I know, 100 per cent, that the manager cannot guarantee me anything. We have shown in pre-season so far that we are very flexible about the way we can play and I know I’ve got to be at the top of my game to have a chance of starting, let alone being guaranteed to start.
“Kayden [Jackson] has scored a lot of goals in pre-season and we’ve played a couple of games together, working well off each other.
“It all depends on the system that the gaffer wants to play and who he wants to play in that system.”
It was pointed out to Norwood that players like Rickie Lambert and Grant Holt, with Southampton and Norwich respectively, achieved Premier League status in their 30s and he added: “This move has reinvigorated me. In terms of playing at the top level I thought my time was over, if I’m honest, but the season I had last year just proves there is life in the old dog yet.”
Norwood netted 32 goals to help Tranmere win promotion to League One and admitted: “I’ll be looking to replicate that sort of form again next season and push us towards the Championship and, hopefully, beyond.
“When I got to 25 or 26 I was thinking I was already too old and that no one would look into non-league football. But I got out of non-league with Tranmere and people have seen what I’ve been able to do.
“To be fair, I’d been doing it for six or seven years but no one had taken any notice. I was thinking I was getting on a bit but I had a fantastic season last year and I’ll be trying to do it again.”
Asked if it frustrated him that clubs higher than League One had consistently overlooked his scoring prowess at National League level, Norwood laughed: “Yes, of course. I scored 20 goals or more a year for seven years and no one took a punt.
“For me it was about getting promotion for Tranmere. I could have left Forest Green a couple of years earlier than I did, and maybe gone to good clubs, but I’m quite loyal – probably too loyal for my own good.
“I didn’t take a gamble so I ended up staying at Tranmere but it worked out with two successive promotions and now I’m looking for a third.
“I wouldn’t have turned down a 100-grand-a-week contract – that would have been nice – but I’m not complaining.
“When you’re travelling up and down the country on a Tuesday night and getting home at three o’clock in the morning, for example, and you’ve played in front of 150 people, it’s not nice. You don’t want to be doing that.
“Now I’m here, we have a chef that travels with us in a nice coach and we’ve got 25,000 people watching us. I’m hungry and I will be doing my very best not to let this opportunity slip.
“I think the scouts look more at non-league goalscorers now than they did a few years ago. It took until guys like Andre Gray, Lee Gregory and of course Jamie Vardy came out of non-league.
“Now clubs are taking a punt on players who haven’t scored as many goals as these guys. Players who aren’t scoring 20 a season, but maybe just six or seven, are getting moves from non-league to the Championship.
“Times are changing – they are looking at non-league players and trying to find a diamond in the rough.”
Photos: TWTD/Ingrid Klaus/Werner Scholz
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