December 5 2013 Latest news:
Paddy Davitt, Norwich City Writer
Friday, October 18, 2013
Chris Hughton has challenged his English-qualified players to rise to the challenge of competing for a place at next summer’s World Cup.
The Norwich City chief insists injuries and loss of form over the Premier League season could see some surprise inclusions in Roy Hodgson’s final squad for Brazil.
John Ruddy was an unused substitute for the winning qualifiers against Montenegro and Poland, but Hughton sees no reason why the likes of Gary Hooper could not make a persuasive case with an impressive top flight campaign.
“It is up to every player, whether they are from Norwich or not, to push their cause,” he said. “Those already in the squad face a battle to keep their place and the ones on the outside have a great incentive. They have a season of opportunity to force their way into the reckoning. It might not only be form but injury that means someone gets an opportunity. Gary is a good player and unfortunately for us he got injured the week before the season but he is an English player operating in the top division. Anybody at this level should see a pathway and an opportunity.”
Nathan Redmond is a regular in the current England Under-21 set-up, but Hughton believes the midfielder needs to make his mark before considering any elevation to the seniors.
“At the moment with Nathan he needs very much to become a fixture at that level, which he has been. He didn’t start either of the games in the past week or so, though, so right at this moment it is about him being a regular at that level. It is Roy’s responsibility to look at as many players as he can between now and the summer because you never know. Plans can change, players can get injured. There is certainly a lot of football to be played. What has raised everybody’s excitement levels is the manner the two games were won.
“Certainly Roy was very brave with the team he put out. It had a very good mix of youth and experience with players like Andros (Townsend). There will be plenty of arguments and debates over which players should go now and it is a long season. The important thing for those English-qualified players is to prove they are worthy of getting on that plane.”
Chris Hughton admitted Norwich’s soft centre again contributed to their downfall as Luis Suarez inspired Liverpool to a 5-1 Premier League win on Wednesday night at Anfield.