Alex Neil - Norwich City new boy Steven Naismith was worth the wait
08:47 26 January 2016
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Alex Neil is pledging the best is yet to come from Norwich City new boy Steven Naismith after a sparkling debut.
Naismith scored and then earned a penalty converted by Wes Hoolahan but was unable to prevent the Canaries’ slipping to a 5-4 Premier League defeat to Liverpool.
Neil finally captured the Scottish international last week after a transfer pursuit which started the previous summer and the City boss admitted Naismith’s Reds’ display proved it was worth the wait.
“He is an intelligent player, he can play a number of roles, and if he can drop into those holes he can cause problems for the opposition and make life difficult,” said Neil. “He gives us a good link between the frontline and the midfield. Wes has been operating in there, but Wes always wants to come towards the ball and get the ball at his feet, whereas Steven will run off him and will make runs into the box which are really difficult to pick up, like his goal. He’s got a real good finish with both feet and he picks it up dangerous areas for the opposition. He’s also good in the air and I thought he had a real good performance.”
Neil was determined to land his man after a charm offensive.
“When we target a player we aggressively go after them and try to convince them this is the place they want to be,” he said. “When we are trying to get players in you don’t make one phone call. We tried to show him how much we wanted him and how much he would contribute to us.
“We knew the situation with his family, with a new baby on the way, and why it was getting postponed or drawn out. I think everybody has got their own things they need to deal with in their own lives and make sure it is right for them and their family. That is why we pursued him so heavily. I knew he wanted to come here and play for us.
“The one thing about him and what attracted him to us is he can play in a number of positions, a number nine, number 11, number seven or even a 10 he can occupy. Like every player he will have his own preference but more often than not he has been used at Everton as a 10 or on the left-hand side.”