Boss tells youngsters to follow legends

CHRIS LAKEY Norwich City's bright young things have been told to use footballing giants like Eric Cantona, Paolo Di Canio and Frank Lampard as examples if they are to fulfil their footballing ambitions.


Norwich City's bright young things have been told to use footballing giants like Eric Cantona, Paolo Di Canio and Frank Lampard as examples if they are to fulfil their footballing ambitions.

Glenn Roeder has challenged Canaries skipper Jason Shackell and teenagers Michael Spillane and Chris Martin to go an extra mile if they want to play with the cream of English football.

Roeder believes all three have the talent - but says extra time in the gym and on the playing fields of Colney will give them the necessary physical attributes to hit the heights.

"These are three players we have produced that are good physical specimens for the modern game," said Roeder. "It is my job to make sure they get the best out of themselves, but they have got to meet me halfway and want to do it.

"If I am chasing those three to the gym to do extra, if I am chasing to pull them back on the training ground after the sessions is finished, there is a massive problem.

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"If I have to do that to start with I will, but I expect them to bite into the habit.

"God given talents who work at their game make them even better, it is a mentality. You can only tell them, make them do it for a period of time then withdraw and see if they continue, then you find out what their ambitions are: whether it is just to get by or to maximise what they have been given and go beyond what they have been given."

Roeder's management and coaching career has seen him work with some of the game's top players at West Ham, Newcastle and within the England national team set-up and the lesson learned from them will be passed on at Colney.

"I will often give young players examples of older players that I have worked with and Di Canio, fantastic footballer, would be one example," said Roeder, who was the Italian master's manager during his time at Upton Park.

"He wasn't a big man at all, physically, but when he took his shirt off he had arms like legs, an unbelievable physique. There is no pill, no magic wand, that was sheer hard work in the gym. I never had to say to Paulo, 'go and do some extra work in the gym'.

"He loved his own body, but when those big centre backs tried to take the ball off him, they just ran into a iron bar, they couldn't even shift him and he was only a small guy. He maximised himself.

"Frank Lampard would never go in after the main session, he'd always do extra.

"Sir Alex Ferguson will talk about the effects not just on the field that Eric Cantona had at The Cliff training ground. Cantona always did extra and suddenly you had that group of young players, Beckham, Giggs, the Nevilles, Scholes, Nicky Butt.

"Nicky Butt is the same now at Newcastle, it is ingrained in him. He is in his early 30s - the year I worked with Nicky, he and James Millner stayed and did extra. He didn't have to do that. Nicky has got more medals than most of those players will ever see put together, he loves football. It is a habit, a good habit to have and that is what that group is like as well.

"When we had them with England you always had to drag the Manchester United lads from the training ground. We would be waiting on the coach while they're still pinging the ball backwards and forwards."

Martin came on a sub against Watford in midweek and impressed Roeder with his 36-minute run-out.

"He has got great physique and he can develop that more," he said. "What's he, 19? It's how much young players want to improve and get better. The little bit I have seen him in training - and that's the first time I have seen him in a match the other night - he looks like he has got very good potential.

"Now I need to find out has he got the attitude to become a really top player, the same as Spillane and, funnily enough, I feel the same about Shackell.

"He has shown me in two games that he can definitely compete and compete well in the Championship. I have asked him, 'do you want to be better and if you do what are you doing about it, how much extra work are you doing to make you better than what you are or are you satisfied that you are a local lad, you have no ambitions outside of Norwich?'

"I would like to think he would have ambitions that, 'if I want to play in the Premier League and I love Norwich I have got to help Norwich get to the Premier League and I have got to get the best out of myself'.

"I can't make an opinion absolutely yet because I don't know him well enough. I want to see him around this training ground working harder than he obviously does now. That is not just on the field, making himself a better player technically and learning about being a top class central defender. I want to see him in the gym as well. He is another one with a super physique but is it as defined as it should be?"