Le Juge’ can add much more than French dressing

CHRIS LAKEY A dash of Gallic class, with a hint of Italian and a drop of Scottish grit is the perfect midfield combination as far as Canaries boss Peter Grant is concerned. Especially as they come in the form of one player – summer signing Julien Brellier, who Grant believes adds a new quality to his side.

CHRIS LAKEY

By CHRIS LAKEY

A dash of Gallic class, with a hint of Italian and a drop of Scottish grit is the perfect midfield combination as far as Canaries boss Peter Grant is concerned.

Especially as they come in the form of one player - summer signing Julien Brellier, who Grant believes adds a new quality to his side.

The Frenchman's arrival at Carrow Road helped along the inevitable departure of Youssef Safri, but it's the cosmopolitan look to Brellier's CV that Grant likes: French club Montpellier for starters, followed by two seasons in Italian football and then two more north of the border at Hearts.

“He reads the game quickly, he gets across the pitch quickly,” said Grant. “I think his intelligence of the game is better than most of the players we have and had last year. He sees situations arising.

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“I think he has got that intelligence from his European background. He has got the other part of it, the work ethic of that, maybe playing in Scotland. That is the combination you get - maybe I would have looked at it differently if he hadn't played in Britain before I know it tales people time to settle. But I'm sure he will have no problems with the Championship.

“He has a great awareness of the game and I think that is one thing we lacked last year - when the opposition had the ball we didn't have people in covering positions and we were open a lot because we were expecting Dickson (Etuhu) to get in the box.”

Etuhu has gone to pastures new while Brellier looks set to take Safri's role just in front of the defence, with Darel Russell and Jimmy Smith among those competing for places ahead of him.

“I think we have better legs in there now, plus young Jimmy Smith - we have a different type of midfield than we had and a group of midfield players that can get from box to box, players who can pass the ball well and players who can break the game up so I think the mixture is different to what we had,” said Grant. “I think he (Brellier) brings a know-how to the midfield area probably more than most. Darel brings his experience of playing in the Championship for so long now and playing for a team that were physically demanding in Stoke.”

Brellier has few doubts about what he brings to the party.

“I'm a ball winner, I try to win as much ball as I can and try to play the simple pass, a good pass to the forwards,” said Brellier, who made only his second pre-season appearance for City against Vitesse Arnhem on Friday.

“I'm very excited about the new season and looking forward to Saturday's game, my first English game. I think it will be much different from the French and Italian but I will tell you after the first game.”

Brellier played for Hearts when they beat Preston at Deepdale in a friendly last season but this time around could be playing alongside Russell.

“I thought they were a good team, but this season I don't know - I just think we have to think about us,” he said. “He (Russell) is a good player and it is always a good thing to play alongside good players. It is very easy to play alongside this type of player.

“I was quite pleased about the game on Friday because I felt I could play more, It was maybe too much of a risk. I am not the fittest at the moment because my pre-season has been a little bit strange.”