McKenzie 'needs to get his head right'
CHRIS LAKEY Leon McKenzie's love affair with Norwich City appears to be over after the Canaries' striker asked to be left behind for the weekend trip to Derby, amid interest from Championship rivals Coventry City.
Leon McKenzie's love affair with Norwich City appears to be over after the Canaries' striker asked to be left behind for the weekend trip to Derby, amid interest from Championship rivals Coventry City.
McKenzie, who had a transfer request turned down by City boss Nigel Worthington a week ago, asked not to be included for the trip across to the Midlands on Friday- a decision which clearly left Worthington non-plussed.
“That's something he's thought about and thought was right for him,” said Worthington after Saturday's goal-less draw.
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“At the end of the day I don't want a player around me that's head is not right to go and do the job.
“As far as I'm concerned, I'm quite happy with that, because I don't want players around when they're not right.
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“He's got to get his head right and play for Norwich City because we are paying his wages.
“And the players out here today have been tremendous and I feel for them a little bit because that dressing room has to be solid and for somebody to do what's happening at the moment, against their own team-mates, manager, football club and the supporters, is hugely disappointing - especially the way he's been looked after at this football club.”
McKenzie put in a transfer request on Monday, citing a lack of first team opportunities, but was immediately turned down by Worthington.
However, Coventry were first out of the blocks when news of McKenzie's unrest became widely known, although they are clearly nowhere near to meeting the price tag Worthington has put on a player he bought for £325,000 from Peterborough in December, 2003.
“There has been an offer come in from Coventry City, I think it was Tuesday, Wednesday of this week - an offer that was flatly refused immediately,” said Worthington.
“They came back in with another one on Friday and again that was refused, and the simple fact is that there's a price on Leon and if we get that price we'll sell him.
“And the reason for that is because when I and Norwich City go to other clubs, people hold out and we're not exactly blessed with a lot of cash so the more I get in the better it will help the football club and ourselves to get a player that we want to bring in. Until that is the case, Leon McKenzie is a Norwich City player.”
McKenzie - a Carrow Road hero after his two-goal match-winning debut performance at Ipswich - is in the last year of his contract, but Worthington will not let him go on the cheap and confirmed that Coventry's offers have been well wide of the mark. However, with £4m in the bank from the sale of Gary McSheffrey to Birmingham, they may be prepared to come back for a third time.
“No, not they're not close,” he said. “And until they hit the nail on the head with what we want, then the situation will remain the same. But I'll reiterate, we're paying his wages and he's got to perform for Norwich City until such times that things change.”
Asked if the situation had affected the rest of the team, Worthington said: “I think there is disappointment with the situation. But he is a Norwich City player, we will treat him like that, with respect, and what we want in return, whilst he is here, is a work rate, a commitment and a never-say-die attitude like he's had - keep that going, because he's going to have to turn it round himself, because Norwich City are paying his wages.”