Jonny Howson admitted yesterday competition for places in Norwich City’s midfield hothouse is fierce.

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The 24-year-old and his former Leeds team mate Bradley Johnson have been in possession of the Premier League shirts this season, but Alex Tettey and David Fox impressed in the midweek Capital One Cup win.

“It’s what you want. You want someone on your shoulder to keep you on your toes and get the best out of you,” he said. “You just don’t know if you’re going to play week, in week out. Foxy and Tettey did very well. Me and Bradley are very aware of the threats around us, but it’s not just us two. I think all over the park there’s good competition for places.

“I think we’ve done well. We’ve known each other for a fair few years so we know each other’s strengths and weaknesses. There’s a good bond in the group. It’s not just us two. The team as a whole, barring the results, have played some good stuff. If we keep that going we’re going to get that bit of luck we need to start turning games into three points.”

Howson enjoyed greater attacking freedom last season but Chris Hughton has so far harnessed his talents in a more disciplined role – something the Yorkshireman feels will be put to the test against Liverpool’s passing style this weekend.

“He sets up in that way and managers have different rules but there are times when we can get forward at certain times,” said Howson. “The majority of the time it’s a case of me and Bradley holding that middle of the park and not being too open. When the manager sets out something you’ve got to do, the most important thing for us two is protecting that, keeping that middle of the park tight and not being too open. We’re doing that okay at the minute.

“We’re obviously aware of how Liverpool like to keep the ball and we have been training all week towards that. But for a home game it’s more about what we do. It’s up to us to take the game to them. We’re on home soil, we want to start the game bright and take the game to them. These are the kind of games you look forward to, a home game against Liverpool. It’s one of the biggest clubs in the world, never mind the country, so it’s something you look forward to. You try to enjoy every minute of it.”

Howson has no fears about mixing it with the likes of Liverpool and England captain Steven Gerrard.

“Once you cross that line you concentrate on your own game, you play your own game and give it your best shot like you do in every single match,” he said. “I rate him very much. I played against him last season and when we had them in the cup for Leeds. He’s been one of the best midfielders in the world for a long time and he’s definitely still got that ability, so I’m aware of his ability – but you relish the chance to test yourself against these players and give you and idea where you are.

“These clubs have world class players and while you have to try and stop them playing sometimes they do things and you just have to hold you hands up.”

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