Lambert is sure new boys will pass Premier League test

Norwich boss Paul Lambert believes Bradley Johnson, Ritchie de Laet and Anthony Pilkington all possess the appetite for Premier League combat.

Johnson looked every inch the midfield enforcer when he was officially unveiled yesterday, but Lambert is equally confident Manchester United loan signing de Laet and versatile wide player Pilkington can flourish on the big stage.

'Ritchie has been at Man United so I don't think it comes much bigger than that and Anthony has played against Arsenal at the Emirates and handled that,' he said. 'I thought Bradley did great for Leeds – especially when he went into the centre of midfield.

'I thought he was very comfortable there and he has got a little bit of a nasty streak in him. I think every player has got to have that – not that he is over-the-top or anything like that, but I think he has a streak in him where he won't shy away from it. I don't mean a nasty streak in a disrespectful way, but in the sense he has a desire to do well.

'The good thing is he has played in front of big crowds before, which is a major thing, so I don't think he will be frightened by a big crowd – whether it is at home or away. I think most of the lads we have brought in are used to that, whether it's in cup runs or whatever.'


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Young Belgian defender de Laet has had limited senior opportunities to impress at Old Trafford, but came to prominence during an extended loan spell at Portsmouth last season – featuring for the hosts in Norwich's memorable promotion-clinching win on the south coast.

'I'd seen him play before Portsmouth at Man United and you have to remember he is only a young player but there won't be many people who outrun him,' said Lambert. 'That is for sure. Man United have been kind enough to let him come down, which I am grateful for. He has played for their first team so I am pretty sure if he can do that he must be doing something right. I just think modern-day football dictates you have to be able to get around a football pitch. The game is quick and you have to have the legs to get about.'

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Lambert's recruitment policy includes the addition of pacy attacking options in the shape of Pilkington and Elliott Bennett designed to keep the big boys guessing ahead of City's top flight bow.

'We have to have other ways of playing,' he said. 'Everybody knows how we played last year and the year before. At times we will have to change and that is why you need people to do different jobs. Nothing is set in stone. That isn't to say I won't play the same way we did last year, there is nothing to say I won't change it.

'As I said to them the other day, it's a level playing field. It's up to them to try and be in the side. You cannot guarantee anybody anything in football, that is for sure. If I did that, I don't think that would be right.

'I spoke to the ones who were here at the end of last season so they know that what we've done before has gone. The new group I think know that as well. What happened in League One is gone, what happened in the Championship is gone. You don't need to be a rocket scientist to know we are going up another level.'

Departures look inevitable with Lambert restricted under Premier League rules to naming a 25-man senior squad.

Young striker Luke Daley recently linked up with Plymouth on a trial basis, while Steven Smith and Owain Tudur-Jones finished last season on loan.

'You can't pick everybody, but the group we are assembling we are very happy with,' he said.

'You have to try and get a foothold in the best league in the world, with the best players and the best stadiums so we'll need to improve ourselves. Not just the lads, but everybody in the club.

'You have to step up to the plate yourself and that includes everybody.'

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