Croft decision leaves Worthy happy

CHRIS LAKEY Nigel Worthington's long wait for his first summer signing is over after Lee Croft yesterday agreed to become a Norwich City player.



Nigel Worthington's long wait for his first summer signing is over after Lee Croft yesterday agreed to become a Norwich City player.

“I am delighted he is coming here,” said City boss Nigel Worthington. “He will be a huge asset to us with his direct style, his pace and his general approach to the game.

“He is very down to earth, no airs and graces and he was so impressed when he came down here the other day. He told me about an hour ago that that he had made his mind up then, but he wanted to go back and talk things over with his family and I think that's good news.

“The work we will put into him here will make him a better player.”

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England Under-19 international Croft said: “I came down last week to meet the manager and have a look around and I was really impressed with the facilities and the club in general. I can't wait to get everything sorted out and then join the rest of the lads for training in the build-up to the game at Leeds.”

Croft's move ends a long wait for manager and fans alike, with fears that City would start the new season without a much-needed injection of new blood.

The first signs of movement came in the hours leading up to the visit by Newcastle on Wednesday, when Croft underwent the usual reconnaissance mission to the club's facilities, agreed personal terms completed a medical and met some of his new team-mates before returning to his Manchester home.

It was an anxious wait, but yesterday the club announced that the decision had gone their way - leaving disappointment at, among others, Leeds and Coventry.

The work isn't over by a long means, with Worthington confirming that work on the transfer front was on-going.

“We will be putting some calls in over the next 10 days or so and just seeing where they are at regarding some of the targets that we have identified that will help us with our thinking and see what they have got to say.”

Croft won't feature in this afternoon's friendly against Northampton, but is expected to be at Colney on Monday for his first training session.

It is there that Worthington will try and integrate him as soon as possible into a team that will be just five days from the opening game of the season, at Leeds - and solve a long-standing problem.

“The right side of midfield is an area we've been trying to strengthen for two years now and I'm delighted that Lee has now agreed to sign for us,” said Worthington.

Croft's signing suddenly adds a whole new look to the City attack, with Darren Huckerby on the other flank, and the likes of Rob Earnshaw and Leon McKenzie down the middle.

“I think it is an exciting signing because you have got several players with good pace in the team and to have that on both flanks and certainly up the middle is a big- plus and I am looking forward to working with him,” said Worthington. “He will be exciting, very direct, he can cross the ball well and he works for the team. We will certainly be looking to get as much as possible out of him on the attacking side.”

Croft came through the ranks at City, where he made 32 appearances, 28 of them as a substitute. He netted his only goal in the Premiership last year against Fulham.