Norris Ready to Save - and Score - Penalties
Monday, 12th Aug 2019 17:59
Town keeper Will Norris is ready to extend his burgeoning spot-kick reputation should tomorrow’s Carabao Cup first round tie at Luton require to be decided with a penalty shootout.
Norris, 26 today, is on a season-long loan from Wolves and will make his debut at Kenilworth Road as manager Paul Lambert, not surprisingly, plans to ring the changes and give several fringe players an opportunity to catch his eye.
Penalties have featured regularly in Norris’s career to date, even going back to his part-time days with Royston Town more than seven years ago. He takes up the story: “It was in the Cambridgeshire Invitation Cup and we played Cambridge City,” he recalled.
“It went to penalties and after all the outfield players had taken one each we were still level, so it was left to the two keepers to have a go.
“Not only did I save their one, I also put ours away. So I have a 100 per cent record for taking penalties, although hopefully it won’t get to that stage at Luton.”
Watford-born Norris moved to Cambridge United in July 2012 and was immediately loaned back to Royston for the duration of the 2012/13 season.
He returned to the Abbey Stadium to help his parent club win promotion from the Conference and in the 2016/17 season he made headlines again with a club record of five penalty saves, including two in stoppage time against Accrington Stanley.
He added: “It’s true I have a good record from penalties and the year I saved two against Accrington was when I got my move to Wolves.
“But there’s no magic formula, although I have my own method but I’m not giving away my secret. When you face a penalty you can only do your best and try to make a save.
“There’s no hard and fast formula. Keepers do their homework for things like that but it’s also down to instinct and how things are going in the game. Combine all that together and it’s a strange formula. But I’m proud of my record and if the Luton game goes to penalties I’ll be ready.”
Norris, at 6ft 4ins five inches shorter than first choice Tomas Holy, has no problem with playing second fiddle to the man from the Czech Republic, adding: “I understand why the gaffer has gone for Tomas in the first two league games. I came in late and he hadn’t seen much of me, so I get it.
“Tom has done the main bulk of pre-season and he knows what he is getting with Tom. I understand the decision.
“But at the same time I’ve come here to play games, as many as possible and not just in cup competitions. There’s no such thing as a given in football, however, so I know what I have to do if I’m going to play on a regular basis. It’s up to me to show the gaffer what I can do and why I believe I should play.
“The Luton game is a good opportunity for me and some of the other boys to play and get some first-team minutes under our belts.
“It will be great to pull the shirt on and get out there and do my best for the team and the fans. I’ve had to be patient at Wolves but I think it’s time for me to get going now.”
Norris had no hesitation in joining Town, who saw both senior keepers – Bartosz Bialkowski and Dean Gerken – depart in the summer, on loan to Millwall and in a permanent move to Colchester respectively. “There were a couple of other clubs interested in me but, to be honest with you, when I heard Ipswich were keen I just wanted to get down here and get the deal done as quickly as possible.
“It all started for me down the road at Royston. I moved on to Cambridge United and then joined Wolves, who have really kicked on and been successful in my time there.
“What I’ve been lacking is game time and that’s why I’m here. I need to play games to progress my career – that’s the route I’m on at the minute.”
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