Dean Ashton's lingering affections for Norfolk and Peter Grant's salesmanship emerged as two of the principal driving forces behind Jon Otsemobor's arrival in Norfolk, he revealed today.
The 24-year-old, attacking right-back was making his first public appearance since signing from Crewe on a free transfer this summer – albeit he only, officially, becomes a Norwich City player this Sunday, on July 1.
?I was desperate to get back into the Championship and when I met the manager Peter Grant, I knew where I wanted to play my football next season,? said Otsemobor, as he joined two more familiar faces at the Royal Norfolk Show this afternoon – City hero Darren Huckerby and midfield powerhouse Dickson Etuhu.
?Plus I'd played with Dean Ashton before and I knew that he'd loved it down here. And I believe he still comes round here from time to time – which says a lot about the club.
?And I spoke to one or two of the lads that he still speaks to Crewe and he'd said that it can only do you good by coming to Norwich. But, to be fair, once I'd met the manager, I knew where I wanted to play my football next season.?
He could, however, only take Ashton's word for it – he had yet to step foot in Norfolk before his medical. The Royal Norfolk Show isn't exactly Bootle funfair, either.
?Aside from when I came up for the medical I've not been over to this side of the world before so it's interesting,? said the one-time Liverpool trainee – first 'outed' as being Norwich-bound by Crewe boss Dario Gradi once it became clear that he wasn't going to sign a new deal with the Railwaymen.
?I knew during last season that the club was interested in me, but I took it with a pinch of salt basically and just carried on playing my football. And then towards the end of the season I heard that they were keen on bringing me up here.
?And I was delighted that they followed the interest up – most definitely.?
Gradi, for his part, would most definitely have liked to have seen Otsemobor pen a new Gresty Road deal if only to ensure that when a bigger club came a-calling he would have got his due reward for twice signing the player – once on-loan from Liverpool, once on a full-time basis from Rotherham United.
However, age was always against Gradi. 24 this March, the player knew that three months later he could walk out of Cheshire on a Bosman-style free – leave on his own terms, as opposed to at someone else's price.
?I think I may have upset a few people leaving Crewe, but I made a decision on behalf of me and my family and I feel that this is a fresh start for me – definitely.?
He was, after all, firmly out of the picture come the back end of the season as Gradi started making plans for life without him. Otsemobor's last game was the 2-1 win over Doncaster in February as he finished the season with 34 Crewe games under his belt.
?It was disappointing not to finish the season playing, but that's football. You've just got to get on with it.?
Still there lies one judgement on Otsemobor – that he's got enough about him for someone of Gradi's ilk to sign him twice. At first glance, whatever else he may or may not have in his locker, he won't lack power. He's a powerfully-built ?unit? in modern manager speak.
He's also someone who is likely to leave both Jurgen Colin and the ever-willing Andy Hughes pondering their respective futures – the latter continues to be linked to a switch to Leeds United as and when their transfer embargo is lifted.
A fourth figure to be mentioned in any right-back debate is Scottish international youngster Andrew Cave-Brown who is due to make his debut this weekend in the World Under-20 Cup finals in Canada. Somewhere in the midst of all that, you suspect that something or someone will have to give exit-wise.
?What sort of player am I? I'm a very attack-minded full-back,? said Otsemobor.
?Full-backs in this day and age have a big influence on the game and I feel that, given the chance, I can influence the game from playing right-back.
?But I'm looking forward to playing next season, I'll be working hard in pre-season and, hopefully, I can get myself in the team and just take it on from there.?
He has one or two other strings to his bow – the ability to play at both centre-half and right-midfield among them.
?In my younger days, I played centre-half – I never really played full-back. And though I've not played there in a while, I can play there. It's not a problem,? he said.
?And I have played right-midfield, but if I had the choice I would stick to being a right-back.?
As for his future targets, Premiership is one – first off, however, is simply earning a start.
?I'm sure if you asked any player in the Championship where they'd want to play, then they'd want to play in the Premiership. And I'm no different from that.
?But I just want to concentrate on getting in the team, first and foremost. Doing well for Norwich City and taking it on from there.?
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