Help is at hand for new skipper Shackell

CHRIS LAKEY Jason Shackell says he won't be shy in asking for advice as he begins a new era as Norwich City's first team skipper.


Jason Shackell says he won't be shy in asking for advice as he begins a new era as Norwich City's first team skipper.

Shackell has completed the transformation from promising youth team player to leader after taking over the armband held by Adam Drury.

And it's Drury, as well as the likes of veteran Dion Dublin and Player of the Year Darren Huckerby, who will help Shackell through the formative stages of his new task.

"They help me out as it is all the time, day in day out," he said. "I've got Adam next to me on the pitch and I won't be shy to ask him, or Dion or Hucks, if I want help and advice - it won't be new to me."

The 23-year-old has taken over the skipper's armband as manager Peter Grant looks for a voice from the middle ground - and the Academy product was proud to accept the challenge.

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"I'm very happy, chuffed to bits," he said. "Adam and the gaffer came to a decision and I think it will help me. It was good to lead the team out against West Ham and hopefully I will be doing it plenty more times.

"The aim for everybody is to finish as high as we possibly can. I don't want to get over-confident though - we have a few more things to work on and make sure we give ourselves the best chance possible."

Grant, meanwhile, has told Shackell to lead by example.

"As I said before, I think he has the potential to be a captain of this club and there is no doubt about that," Grant said.

"He has got the opportunity now and it is up to him to go and lead the team in a proper manner.

"He has got to learn from his performances and the most important thing about being captain is do your job properly first. He has got all the attributes to be a top quality player, now he has to put it into practice. He has got to be able to lead and understand the full picture, and that is one thing we feel will make him a better player, giving him that responsibility and hopefully he grabs it with both hands.

"I think this will make Jason grow a little bit, and I think in the centre of the pitch sometimes it is easier to get information across, when you are playing and organising your midfield or your other full-backs and I think sometimes Adam is maybe a wee bit too detached from the game."

Shackell takes over from a player who also gave way to him back in March 2003, when Drury succumbed to a virus at the last minute, enabling Shackell to make his debut against Derby County.

Drury had offered to give up the captaincy when Grant took over early last season and the pair agreed to make the change this summer after further talks.

"Adam came to me last year and spoke to me about giving the captaincy up if I wanted to make someone else captain," explained Grant.

"I spoke to Adam at length about it, because I think he knows how highly I regard him.

"He is not one of these guys who is going to be vociferous on the pitch, he is not going to be ranting and raving, that is not the way he plays.

"It was something me and Adam spoke about before I spoke to Jason. I thought that was important and Adam was coming to the same conclusion as me; he thinks it's important that maybe Jason will become a better player through it.

"That is a wonderful gesture on his part because I know what I would have been like, I would have been moaning about it."