The really interesting part of the conversation with City new-boy Jacob Butterfield came at the end.
When the interview turned towards the type of footballer he was; to the type of football he played; to the type of footballer he most admired.
“Iniesta,” he said, simply.
Andres Iniesta – for anyone who missed this summer’s Euro2012 tournament – is the Spanish midfielder with the quick-silver feet, the precision passing and the instinctive eye for goal.
The one who was named Player of the Tournament as he and his international colleagues continued their recent domination of world football with a sublime demonstration of pass-and-move football to wholly out-class the luckless Italians.
That’s how Butterfield wishes to see football played.
“I think English football needs to watch and learn off it,” said City’s new boy, whose arrival was inevitably over-shadowed by news of Grant Holt’s new deal.
Butterfield is, however, an interesting one. Full of possibilities; particularly from 20-yards out.
“I think we’re so far behind in terms of our philosophy on football,” Butterfield continued, warming to his theme.
“The way that they keep possession, the way that they move around the pitch, their technical ability – I think we need to watch and learn and have a bit of a revolution about how we play the game.”
Cue the question; the one player that stood out for him would be, Iniesta?
“Yes,” was his answer.
And his preferred position? In an ideal world?
“In behind the striker – attacking midfielder,” he revealed. “Behind two, but probably behind one, to be fair.
“I just think that you get a lot of freedom in that position; you often get a lot of space in that position between the opposition’s defence and midfield where no-one really knows where to pick you up. That’s where I like to be because it gives me a little bit of space on the ball.
“I can get into those little pockets and create from there.”
If that sounds like Iniesta, it also sounds like Wes Hoolahan. Or, indeed, Jonny Howson. Hughton is not short of competition in that area.
His future had been the cause of endless speculation in South Yorkshire as his contract neared its end. Much of the talk was put on hold after injuring his anterior cruciate ligament in the New Year’s Day derby clash with neighbours Leeds United.
But with the all-clear given to start pre-season training, so it was time for the 22-year-old to spread his wings and answer Chris Hughton’s call.
“I thought it was time to make the move into the Premier League,” he said, with his final fee due to be decided by a tribunal later this summer.
“I had a few offers, but moving to Norwich just felt right,” added the England Under-21 prospect, clearly impressed by the manner in which that the Canaries traditionally set out their stall football-wise.
“They did fantastic [last season] and play good football,” he said, a tradition unlikely to change under the new administration.
“And after a few conversations with the new Gaffer it just felt right,” he confirmed. “It just felt like it was a good step to make at this stage in my career. Plus the way that the Gaffer sees me fitting into the team; the good football; the good footballers that are already here – I just think that I will fit in well.”
Ideally away from the treatment room and the gym – his home for the last six months.
“Not playing football is something that I’m not used to – I’ve not had an injury like that before. So I didn’t really enjoy not playing, so I’m definitely looking forward to getting my boots back on and kicking the ball around.”
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