Norwood: It's Part and Parcel of Football That People Move On But It's Sad to See Them Leaving
Friday, 7th May 2021 14:00
Town fans may be preparing themselves for a summer of change at Portman Road, with manager Paul Cook preparing to release several senior out-of-contract players, but stand-in skipper James Norwood admits he will feel sad to see so many colleagues departing for pastures new.
Assistant manager Matt Gill and goalkeeping coach Jimmy Walker have already moved on and Sunday’s final game of the season against Fleetwood will soon be followed by a club announcement as to which players will be joining them.
Regardless of who joins the exodus, Norwood still believes there will be sufficient talent left behind and that they, together with the players expected to arrive at the club in the close season, can all have a major impact next term.
Supporters have been speculating for several weeks as to who might be deemed surplus to requirements, with many in favour of sweeping changes, but Norwood said: “It’s very easy for fans to say that about players when they have their own jobs and people are bringing in presents for them, saying it’s sad to see them leave. You see it on Instagram all the time.
“Imagine if the roles were reversed and we turned around and said ‘What are you on about? They’re terrible at their jobs’.
“We spend virtually every day together and we’re really good friends. It’s part and parcel of football that people move on and others come in, but of course it’s going to be sad to see them leaving and I’d hope to be able to stay in touch with them as much as I can.”
Norwood’s deal still has a further year to run, while the club also retain an option to retain his services for an additional 12 months after that, so he is one of several familiar faces who will be back towards the end of June when Town’s pre-season training will get under way.
He added: “I don’t just want to be here, I’m very excited about what can happen next season. I’ve had that feeling since the gaffer came in and made it clear he wanted to play attacking football. As a striker it excited me to hear what he had to say.
“It’s a striker’s dream to be getting crosses into the box and chances to score goals. I’m going to have to work hard over the summer to get my hamstring problem sorted and when I come back I’ll be fighting for my place again. That’s a big part of football and I’ll be looking to prove a point.
“Some people appear to think it’s going to be a whitewash of players – 11 out, 11 in – but I don’t think that is going to be the case if I’m honest.
“People are under contract and people are good enough to play here. I think we need to add in certain areas but that’s about it really.
“We’ve got a lot of good players that could flourish here after a good pre-season and a full pre-season under this manager.
“Obviously, it hurts this season that we’re not challenging for promotion and particularly for the senior players. But at this point in our careers we’ve been through stuff like this.
“If you’ve been in the game for some length of time it’s inevitable that you will suffer some sort of disappointment, sadness and situations you’re not comfortable in.
“For us it has been more frustrating than anything else but it’s not something that will mentally affect us in the long term. We’ll be ready to come in for pre-season ready to start again. I think it’s important to learn to let things go.
“Yes, once the season has finished, be disappointed for a week or two and then realise that there’s a whole new season on the way.
“As you get older you start to realise the seasons are starting to run out and you can’t sit and mourn over the season that’s just gone. You have to put it to bed and wait for the next opportunity.”
Norwood is also encouraged by the fact that young homegrown players like Andre Dozzell, Flynn Downes and Luke Woolfenden are set to stay at the club and be part of Cook’s bid to win promotion back to the Championship.
He continued: “What these guys have been through will be character building going forward. Last season was probably the first time the lads had experienced the amount of pressure that they did.
“In the Championship they were young and weren’t expected to be among the top players. But coming down to League One – and don’t forget there was Premier League interest in them – it brings a new kind of pressure. It’s very hard for a young player to come into that and have to deal with it.
“They are going into the prime years of their lives now and they will be better for the experiences of the last two seasons. If we go up with them in the team they will have promotion under their belt and will know how to achieve it.”
Photo: Matchday Images
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