by Paddy Davitt
Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Norwich City captain Grant Holt may have written off his England chances – but Canaries’ chief Chris Hughton insists he should never give up hope.
Holt made his position clear ahead of another goalscoring Premier League display at Chelsea that any prospect of an international call-up ended when he was overlooked during a strong finish to last season.
Hughton, however, believes Holt can still construct another compelling case for inclusion if he emulates the 15-goal return from his debut campaign in the big time.
“I think he has been unlucky,” said Hughton. “Players brought into the squad of late have been scoring goals, which is why I was delighted for him to score last week. Right now things might look like they are on a downer for him but things can change. It is a long, hard season.
“He certainly shouldn’t give up hope. Not in this game. Grant can’t do himself any harm if he scores goals so I was delighted that he scored his second one (against Chelsea).
“I hope that’s him up and running now and any claim that he might have to get in England squads will be a result of him scoring goals and scoring goals like he did last season.”
John Ruddy remains Norwich’s sole representative in Roy Hodgson’s latest World Cup qualifying squad and Hughton senses the St Ives man now has a real opportunity to cement his place in the senior set-up.
“The simple fact he’s in the England squad, probably with what’s in the squad at the moment, means he’s seen as the number two with Fraser Forster having come in,” he said. “He’s there on merit. Whether he gets that opportunity will be tough because there is an exceptional goalkeeper at number one, and I mean exceptional, so it will be tough for him but he’s there pushing and that’s certainly good for him and good for us.”
Ruddy replaced Forster at Carrow Road after the Celtic man’s key role in Norwich’s League One title success in 2010. His former club skipper in Norfolk fully endorsed Forster’s elevation to the international ranks.
“It’s long overdue,” said Holt. “He’s been doing well since he was here and moved on and he’s been in fine form. It’s nice to see that they’re looking out of the box at other people. He’s a massive presence. He’s good at reading the play, good at reading situations, coming out and standing big and tall and when he’s in that goal he’s a big frame to get past.”
Holt feels players from outside the elite clubs will always face an uphill battle on the England front. The City captain fears the likes of his ex-Rochdale team mate Rickie Lambert is likely to suffer a similar snub to him in the near future.
“Unless Rickie Lambert scores 25 goals or bags 10 in the next few months, I don’t think he’ll get close,” said Holt, despite Lambert notching four times during the opening weeks of the new campaign for Southampton. “I spoke to him before the season started, and I’ve spoken to him since and just said, ‘Keep doing what you’re doing’.”