Elliott Bennett - Character in Norwich City squad highlighted by namesake Ryan’s performance against Reading
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Elliott Bennett believes the efforts of his namesake Ryan against Reading showed what Norwich City's squad is all about.
Both Bennetts have had to endure spells on the sidelines as Canaries boss Chris Hughton kept faith with his settled side – and both have made the most of their recent returns to action. Elliott has been in arguably his best form since moving to Carrow Road almost two years ago, and followed up a lively outing against Swansea with his first Premier League goal of the season that clinched all three crucial points against Reading on Saturday.
As for Ryan, he added the key opening goal to his show of defensive resolution after easing the blow of Michael Turner's injury departure as an 18th minute substitute – his first competitive appearance in almost three months.
They are the kind of impacts football squads were design to inspire.
'I think that just shows the kind of character we have got in our squad,' said Elliott. 'Obviously you are very disappointed when you're not playing. I don't think any player in there would tell you it's not. You might not play for a while and especially as a centre-half; the two centre-halves that have been playing have been fantastic all season.
'So Ryan has got his chance off the bench and managed to score and also have a fantastic game, and that's testament to his character and just shows what a good squad we've got here.
'I've had to deal with that too and it's tough when you are not playing, but you have just got to get on with it, train and when you do get your chance you try to take it.
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'If you haven't got competition for places then it's worrying because it means you are not improving. The gaffer has come in and brought in some really good players in my position.
'Snoddy (Robert Snodgrass) has come in and been fantastic this season. So you've got to just train as well as you can every day, take the opportunities you get and show the manager you should maybe be playing.
'But as I said, Ryan has come in and done fantastically well when he came off the bench and sent us on our way to a magnificent three points.'
The effect of those three points – and a similarly important weekend win for Stoke at Queens Park Rangers – means Saturday's clash at the Britannia Stadium can be downgraded from white hot to simmering.
And although it won't be a case of the pressure now being off for the Canaries, the benefits from the previous weekend should not be underestimated as City close in on guaranteed top-flight survival.
'Yes, of course it will make a difference – we are a step closer to where we need to be,' said the City winger. 'But he pressure is always going to be there because it's another Premier League match that everyone wants to win.
'Stoke is not an easy place to go to and we know that, so we will do our work in the week and hopefully go there and put on a good performance and get three points. Will it be job done next week? I don't know. We just need to go into the games and keep trying to pick up points. We will work on Stoke's strengths in the week, try to work out how to nullify them and pose a threat ourselves. Wigan lost (at West Ham) but they can pull out points from anywhere and they are usually magnificent at the end of the season, but we've got the points on the board and hopefully we can kick on from here.
'The league is so tight and everyone down there is scrapping for points, and we are no different.'