Norwich City winger seals January loan switch to Championship rivals
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Norwich City summer signing Ben Marshall has joined Millwall on loan for the rest of the season.
The 27-year-old has found opportunities in short supply since opting to join the Canaries from Wolverhampton Wanderers for a reported £1.5m.
Millwall boss Neil Harris had been hopeful of securing Marshall's services that close season following a successful loan at The Den over the second half of last season – only for City to gazump their rivals.
Marshall has now returned to the south London club, making him available for the Lions' trip to Middlesbrough on Saturday – with the aim of significantly improving the London club's 20th position in the Championship table.
City confirmed the loan, with a short statement concluding: 'Everyone at Norwich City would like to wish Ben all the best for the rest of the season.'
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Given he has made just six City appearances since his summer arrival – plus the emergence of Max Aarons in the right-back role earmarked for Marshall at City – it seems likely the former Blackburn and Leicester man will also be available to leave come the summer, at the right price.
Marshall said: 'I'm made up – it's a bonus. I was here last year, so I know the club and the lads already.
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'I went to Norwich in the summer but it's not happened there, so I've had to look at playing games elsewhere.
'It's a similar situation to last year. All I want to do is my best for the lads, the manager and the fans, and if I can replicate what I did last year, which I was proud of and I enjoyed, then I'll be made up.'
Marshall had also been linked with a loan move to play-off contenders – and City's next opponents – Birmingham, as well as East Anglian rivals and the division's bottom club Ipswich.
However, a successful move to Millwall could yet prove beneficial for Marshall's parent club if it involves him taking points off City's promotion rivals. He will not be allowed to feature against Norwich at The Den in March.
Millwall boss Neil Harris, also speaking to the club's website, said: 'We're delighted. We were obviously interested in Ben in the summer following his successful period with us last season, and we couldn't compete in the market at the time.
'He went to Norwich, wanted to make a home for himself and do well – obviously it hasn't turned out quite as well as he has hoped so far – but Norwich have been great in letting him come back on loan to play some football.'
He continued: 'Ben made it very clear that once he was told he could get out and play that he wanted to come here, and we're obviously very pleased to have him back.
'I said to Ben that there will be some expectation on his shoulders because of how well he performed for us last year, but just to come and enjoy himself and play. If he can try and replicate the form he showed, and we can win games, then we're certainly in a good place.
'He is a player who has enough experience to welcome in a bit of pressure on his shoulders. He's got a great understanding with the group on and off the pitch, and had been a huge part of the dressing room dynamic, a good leader. He was certainly a character I enjoyed working with before.'
Marshall's departure leaves City with nine homegrown players that have featured so far this season. They can also count on the return of Carlton Morris from injury whilst Aston Oxborough could also be another option to fulfil the requirement of naming seven homegrown players in each matchday 18.
Marshall proved a hit on loan at The Den last season, helping Harris' side to a late play-off bid before the Lions finished eighth, his 16 appearances bringing three goals and five assists.
However, Marshall has just one assist at Norwich, his last league appearance coming in the 2-0 home win over Preston on August 22 – also his last league start, when he was withdrawn with the game still goalless. He started City's FA Cup third round defeat to Portsmouth but was withdrawn after 78 minutes, then left out the squad for Saturday's draw at West Brom.
Marshall added: 'I played against Portsmouth in the cup, but I've not played for months before, so I was a bit rusty. I just need to hit the ground running, and I'm sure if I get the opportunity to play, to start, in the next few upcoming games then I'll do that.
'From what I've been watching in games, and in highlights, there still seems to be a similar way (to last season), so hopefully I can kick on.'
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