AUDIO: Andrew Surman enjoying his first real shot at Premier League with Norwich City
Andrew Surman feels like he is enjoying his first proper shot at the Premier League with Norwich City after his false start at Wolverhampton Wanderers.
The 25-year-old's top-flight career was supposed to start with the Black Country club in 2009-10 after a �1.2m move from Southampton.
But the left-footed midfielder made just three starts in one season at Molineux before City boss Paul Lambert took him to Carrow Road for a similar fee 18 months ago.
And now he's getting his second shot at the top flight after helping the Canaries to Championship promotion at the first time of asking last year, Surman is looking the part.
The ex-Saints trainee already has nine starts and a goal to his name this season – and the likeable South African-born midfielder feels he is benefitting from an extended run in Lambert's side, having started seven of City's last eight league games and their 4-1 FA Cup win over Burnley at the weekend.
'When I went to Wolves I felt like it was my first shot and didn't really feel like I was given a chance,' acknowledged Surman. 'But obviously getting promoted with Norwich and playing with the same team as least season and managing to keep my place in the team, it does feel like my first proper shot at it.
'I think any player will tell you, you need a run of games to get up to the pace of the Premier League because it is a quicker pace, and you need your Premier League legs – and sometimes that takes five to 10 games.
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'But thankfully I've been given that and the team is doing well in the league, and it's all good so far.'
Lambert has long spoken of needing everyone in his squad over the course of the season – and has done an even better job of proving it through a gruelling recent programme, with the likes of Simon Lappin and Adam Drury earning their first top-flight starts and a host of starting XI changes from one game to the next.
'As the manager said at the start of the season, he's going to need all of us and we have got quite a big squad – you have got 22 or 23 players travelling to every game and there is competition for places,' added Surman.
'But I think it has shown, every player that has come in has done a job and we've got good strength in depth here.
'Touch wood, we haven't had too many bad injuries. Obviously a couple of our centre-halves have been out but apart from that, everyone has been able to stay fit. Competition for places is always good and everyone that has come in has done a good job.'
At least Surman can enjoy one benefit from his limited time at Wolves, and that is escaping a hot reception as their bitter rivals West Bromwich Albion await for City's return to Premier League action on Saturday – as well as in the fourth round of the FA Cup a fortnight later.
Surman joked: 'I don't really know if they'll know who I am.'