City new-boy Elliot Omozusi today paid tribute to his ex-Fulham pal Dejan Stefanovic for making his switch to pastures new this summer so painless.
The 19-year-old, on-loan right-back made his Canary debut in Saturday's 2-0 opening day defeat by Coventry City; the youngster leaving the Ricoh with Glenn Roeder's praises ringing in his ears after keeping Julian Gray 'in his pocket' for the full 90 minutes.
Tomorrow and Omozusi is expected to make his Carling Cup debut as the Canaries make the relatively short trip to the MK Dons for their first round clash against the ambitious League One outfit.
It was, he said, a case of so far, so good as he settled comfortably into his new surroundings – helped by the presence of the 33-year-old Stefanovic.
“I'm happy,” he said. “I've had a good pre-season under my belt and I'm feeling fit. And had a good, decent performance away at Coventry – it was just too bad that we couldn't get a win.”
Having already racked up eight Premiership appearances for the West London side, the England Youth international is confident he can slip into a Championship way of thinking.
“It's a bit different than playing in the Premiership – it's a lot faster tempo, but I think that I adapted well,” said Omuzusi, as he likewise found the city much to his liking.
“It's a nice place and I'm settling dow really well; they're nice people at the club; the lads have been really welcoming so I'm settling down well.”
Helped, no doubt, by the fact that there were at least two familiar faces waiting to greet him at the gates of Colney – Stefanovic and his England Youth pal Ryan Bertrand.
You already sense that if Roeder has his way over the next three weeks then another England Youth team-mate may join the Colney crew as the City chief looks to sweet talk Gunners boss Arsene Wenger in letting Arsenal starlet Keiran Gibbs come out to play again.
“Dejan has been a big help for me,” admitted Omuzusi, with the Serb switching to the Canaries on a full-time basis just hours before his loan-switch was completed.
“When I actually started playing first team football at Fulham, he was one of the big guys that helped me and put me through my paces so actually having him down here was always going to be beneficial for me.”
And then there was Ryan whose full-time employer is, of course, not a million miles away up the King's Road.
“I knew Ryan; we actually played for England at 18s and 17s together – so, yes, it's nice having him round here as well.”
The Chelsea left-back is unlikely to be involved tomorrow night as Roeder looks to keep his injured ankle wrapped in cotton wool ahead of this weekend's Carrow Road opener against Blackpool.
The Canaries will, on paper, be favourites to win the tie; in reality, bitter experience will have taught most Canary fans to view themselves as the under-dogs – something that will suit Omozusi. Fulham, he said, are rarely expected to win a Premiership game.
“Coming from Fulham, we're never really favourites in the Premiership so it'll be different [being the favourites]. And they'll be at it – knowing that they're going to be the underdogs going nto the game,” he said. “We're just going to have to match that and, hopefully, our quality will take us on to win the game.”
The Carling Cup was, he said, important; not a game to be treated lightly. In fairness, going into Saturday's home game against Blackpool on the back of two straight defeats wouldn't be ideal.
“It's very important – it gives us a chance to step out of the Championship and play different teams and, hopefully, we can get a good cup run under our belt which is always important,” said the teenager, stating for the record that his No1 position was right-back – Spurs new-boy Troy Archibald-Henville can have first shout at John Kennedy's centre-halfgig in Gary Doherty's ongoing absence.
“I definitely prefer to ply my trade at right-back, though I'm comfortable playing at centre-half as well,” he said. “And I like getting forward as much as possible, but I wouldn't say I was 100 per cent fit so I have got to time my runs well and not just go bombing down the wing willy-nilly!”
As for his own ambitions this autumn, they were pretty straight-forward. To play games, basically.
“The main aim for me being here is playing games – getting in as many games as possible. And, hopefully, staying injury free; just plying my trade for Norwich and just helping them as much as I can help myself as well.”
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