Barham impressed by the new breed
Elliott Bennett typifies the new breed of rising star Paul Lambert wants to mould into a Premier League team, according to former Norwich City and Brighton winger Mark Barham.
Barham, a double promotion winner with the Canaries, believes Lambert's squad is getting 'better and better' with each new acquisition.
The 22-year-old Bennett is expected to complete a �1.5m move to Carrow Road this week after Brighton boss Gus Poyet admitted he was giving one of the stars of his League One title-winning side the chance to make a name for himself in the top flight, before spending �1m of the proceeds on Watford's Will Buckley.
Lambert has already added strikers James Vaughan and Steve Morison to his squad and is reported to be close to snapping up Leeds midfielder Bradley Johnson on a free transfer.
And Barham, who spent all but two of his seasons with Norwich between 1979 and 1987 in the former Division One, feels that recruiting players who are still on the way up is the right policy for City as they prepare for only their second season in the Premier League since 1995.
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'It looks as if Paul Lambert wants younger players he can mould into his way of playing football and try to establish that place in the Premier League. That's the way Paul wants to go,' said Barham. 'He can't afford to break the wage structure but he's looking at exciting young players and the way I see it the squad is getting better and better. Everything he touches seems to turn to gold. He has put a strategy in place and it's very good to see how things are shaping up. You need your goalscorers and it looks as if his midfield and attack is coming together. If there is one thing he may look for, it's a centre-half who has played in the Premier League.'
Bennett was regarded as the king of the assists at Brighton, setting up 19 goals last season and scoring eight – much the kind of player Barham was in his heyday.
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'I haven't seen too much of him live, apart from the game I covered for Press Association at Norwich, but from what I can see he looks a very accomplished player for such a young lad,' said Barham.
'Gus Poyet must have thought a lot of him to make sure he stayed until the end of the season so they got promotion to the Championship.
'But it looks like now his chance to play in the Premier League has come along, Poyet has not stood in his way, which is nice.'
Barham made 223 appearances for City before moving to Huddersfield in 1987. He later spent two and a half seasons with Brighton.