First impressions count for Alex Neil after meeting Coventry City new boy James Maddison
- Credit: PA
If first impressions really do count then James Maddison has made his mark on Alex Neil, after the Norwich City boss met his highly-rated new signing for the first time earlier this week.
Maddison spent time at Colney and Carrow Road on a flying visit to Norfolk following a whirlwind deadline night transfer move from Coventry City. The 19-year-old has remained on loan with the League One promotion hopefuls until the end of this season, when he will then link up with his new club for the next phase in what Neil is convinced can be a stellar career.
'We just brought him in to let him know our thoughts and ambitions for the lad,' he said. 'We showed him around Colney and the stadium and tried to get him introduced to the players so he feels comfortable around the place. We want to gradually introduce him to the methods we'll use, particularly when he comes in in the summer.
'We were very diligent in our work, in terms of speaking to people in and around him, the influences in his life, the players who have played with him, other coaches and managers as well as agents so all that background work was done but I had only spoken to the lad on the phone. This was the first time we had spoken face-to-face and it was a productive meeting. It wasn't any surprise to me, in terms of his character. I knew what I was getting; a really talented young footballer who hopefully has a really bright future.'
Maddison is confident he can make the step up to the big time.
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'I'm still only 19, I am still growing,' he said. 'I had a chat with the Norwich manager and he feels first team football is going to benefit me next season, whether that is Norwich or elsewhere. I believe I can play at the highest level and I want to play in the Premier League for many years. I hope Norwich stay up. Whether I am ready or not now only time will tell. I would have to be with the squad for a fair while and get used to the intensity because I have only really known League One. If I get the opportunity then we will find out.
'I spent the day on Monday meeting the lads and the staff and it was good to touch base and see what I am going into but my focus right now is Coventry. It was a massive part of the deal that I could come back to Coventry this season and try and get the club promoted, which would be the perfect send-off. I just felt it was the right time to move on. I have a good family and a good agent around me always giving me the right advice so I am confident I will make the right decisions throughout my career.'
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• Norwich City's Premier League matches against Sunderland and Arsenal in April have been changed for live television coverage,
City's home meeting against the Black Cats has been switched to an earlier kick-off time of 12:45pm on Saturday, April 16, with the game being shown on BT Sport.
Alex Neil's squad will travel to Arsenal for a later kick-off time of 5:30pm on Saturday, April 30, with the game being broadcast on Sky Sports. City's Emirates trip, however, is subject to a possible further change if either Chelsea or Manchester City are still involved in the Champions League.