City boss Paul Lambert this afternoon added another ‘winner’ to his Premiership pack as Brighton winger Elliott Bennett was formally unveiled to the Carrow Road Press.
The 22-year-old – fresh from his own promotion-winning season on the South Coast – becomes City’s third signing of a busy summer.
And as Lambert ran through the young man’s attributes, so it was that fact that stood out. That like the rest of his new Canary team-mates Bennett has grown used to winning.
He’s in a frame of mind where losing doesn’t come easily.
“I’m delighted to get him in,” said Lambert, presiding over the third ‘Meet the new boy…’ session of the summer. More are likely to follow before battle is joined in earnest in August.
“And I think the beauty of it is that he’s used to winning,” said the City chief, after awarding the one-time Wolves youngster a three-year Canary deal. All fresh from agreeing an ‘undisclosed fee’ with the Seagulls.
“I think his mentality is used to winning – he’s not had many defeats last season which is a credit to Brighton and to himself,” added Lambert. “So you’ve got somebody who knows about the feeling of winning at the moment.
“And I think it’s important that you bring people in who want to do well – and aren’t just coming here because Norwich is a nice place to live. I think the football club have been guilty of doing that beforehand but that is a road that I won’t be going down.”
Which is the same you could say you could say about Steve Morison.
Millwall might not have enjoyed back-to-back promotions a la Norwich. But they weren’t far off the play-offs after digging themselves out of League One before. And he didn’t strike anyone as coming here for an easy ride.
The rest of the Canary squad are, of course, all-too used to the sweet smell of success after those two, extraordinary seasons under Lambert’s charge. Age was also on Bennett’s side, it appears.
“He’s only 22 – so he’s got years and years to go,” said Lambert, who first tried to prise him out of The Withdean in the New Year. Baulked on that occasion, a ticket to the Premiership can work wonders on the transfer front.
“This is just a big opportunity for him to come here and do well,” said Lambert, having clearly tracked the Brighton starlet for a while.
“We went to see him before the season finished and he’s someone that we’ve long thought would be of benefit to this football club. And that’s what I will try and do – bring in people who I think will enhance the squad. And we will now try and get the best out of him.”
He wasn’t, however, someone that Lambert was planning on ‘bedding in’ over the next two or three years. In that sense, time wasn’t on the young man’s side.
It would be sink or swim come August when everyone has to fight for their place – from scratch.
“Everybody has to hit the ground running,” he warned.
“And not just the players – everybody.
“And that’s what we will try and do. I’m not bringing them in here for their potential, that’s for sure. It’s not as if he’s 17 or 18 – then you might think about. He’s played many games for a very successful side, so I don’t have any problem with regards to his age or anything like that.”
If he’s good enough, he’s old enough is clearly the manager’s mantra.
It wasn’t just the goals that had caught the eye of his new employer. It was his assists. At 20-plus for last, Bennett clearly offers a new, potential supply line.
“To get that number of assists was phenomenal,” said Lambert. “But, as I say, all I want him to do is come in and give me everything that he’s got – he does that, he’ll be fine.”
The fact that he will be making two leaps up the league ladder – by-passing the learning curve of The Championship – to take his place at the top table of English football was also of little concern to Lambert.
“I don’t have any concerns whatsoever that he’s coming from the league he’s been playing in to play in the best league in the world,” said the City chief.
“And you’ll never know [about a player] until you give them the opportunity – they have to have that opportunity to go and do it. He now has the opportunity to go and do it. And he won’t let us down.”