Alex Neil’s Norwich City success is no surprise to his former prodigy

Former Hamilton and now West Ham defender (pictured right) Stephen Hendrie knew Alex Neil could cut

Former Hamilton and now West Ham defender (pictured right) Stephen Hendrie knew Alex Neil could cut it at Norwich City.. Picture: Danny Lawson/PA Wire. - Credit: PA

Alex Neil's former Hamilton prodigy Stephen Hendrie insists his mentor was cut out to lead Norwich City in the Premier League.

The West Ham defender missed out on a potential reunion at the weekend as he had to settle for a watching brief at Upton Park in the Canaries' breathless 2-2 top flight draw at the Boleyn.

Hendrie was touted with a Carrow Road switch shortly after Neil headed south in January before moving to the Boleyn for £1m in the summer.

The highly-rated 20-year-old left-back is not surprised Neil has built on his Championship promotion success in the top flight.

'He did brilliantly to get Norwich promoted. I played with him for a few seasons at Hamilton, then under his management, so I know what type of manager he is,' said Hendrie. 'He was always a leader on the field as a player, you could tell that a mile away. He was the main man in the changing room, he acted like the second gaffer. He would organise everything so you could tell he was always going to become a manager.

'He's pretty straightforward and if he wants you to do something he won't hold back. He has a structure, he likes to have his team and shape planned. He knows exactly what he wants.'

Neil guided the Accies to third in the Scottish Premiership, when he opted to replace Neil Adams in Norfolk.

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'For Hamilton, a small club to get into the SPL and stay up was a big achievement,' said Hendrie, speaking the Hammers' matchday programme. 'To finish seventh last season was massive, especially when people were tipping us to go down. The achievement that Alex masterminded was rightly recognised when he got the Norwich job.'