Lambert's new nemesis Wootten is loving life at Norwich City
Ipswich boss Paul Lambert doesn’t know who he is – but Ed Wootten is loving life at Norwich City, as he keeps the Canaries’ goalkeepers in top shape for a promotion push.
Wootten was among the coaches involved in the ugly touchline scenes during City’s dominant 3-0 win over local rivals Ipswich earlier this month, which led to both clubs being fined and Town boss Lambert being given a two-match touchline ban.
The former Norwich boss then threw fuel on the fire when asked if he’d been challenged to a fight by the keeper coach at his next press conference, controversially replying: “That’s it, yeah. Don’t do it in front of 25,000 (fans), do it inside then we’ll see. I’m not going to stand and take it, no chance.
“I don’t even know who it was. I don’t know the guy’s name, is he a goalkeeping coach? Try and stick to what you’re good at. I don’t know if he played the game or anything but I wont stand for that, that’s for sure.
“Go and get him to give me a call and we’ll see what happens.”
While that fuss has thankfully since died down, with City fined £25,000 and Town £20,000 after accepting charges of failing to control their players and staff on derby day, with Lambert also fined £3,000 having been held back by a steward and a police officer during the melee, before being sent to the stands.
It was actually head of performance Chris Domogalla who was shown a red card for City, seemingly in a case of wrongful identification – leaving City fans wanting to know more about Wootten.
In a profile video released by the Canaries, the former FC Clacton, Halstead Town and Tiptree United goalkeeper explained: “I was previously at Colchester United for about 10 years, the job opportunity came up in the summer of 2015, had an interview process and then got given a job with the academy back in 2015.
“Since then I’ve worked with the first team since the summer of 2017.”
That followed Dean Kiely’s exit in July 2017, as sporting director Stuart Webber began sweeping changes on and off the pitch following Daniel Farke’s appointment as head coach.
“I was a goalkeeper all my life really, right from a young age probably at nine or 10, went right up through the academy system up until I was 16,” Wootten continued.
“It didn’t quite work out for me and I was at Colchester, and while I got let go they offered me an opportunity to work with their goalkeepers within the academy there.
“So I combined playing non-league football with the academy goalkeepers and fortunately it’s worked out well.”
While that means Wootten was involved at the academy at Colchester at the same time Lambert was in charge of the U’s first team, between October 2008 and August 2009, it’s clear they won’t be on each others’ Christmas card lists this year.
Instead, City’s keeper coach is just enjoying the ride, with Farke’s team top of the Championship with 12 games remaining.
“It’s been a really positive season so far, obviously there’s a long way to go yet. It’s always great when you’re looking upwards rather than downwards,” he continued, speaking to City’s Youtube channel.
“So it’s been a really positive season and everyone seems to be enjoying it, there’s a great spirit among the group, so we’re really looking forward to the challenges ahead – and hopefully come May there might be some more prizes waiting for us!”
Wootten oversees the experienced duo of Holland international Tim Krul and Northern Ireland shot-stopper Michael McGovern, with former Newcastle number one Krul an ever-present in the league since signing on a free transfer last summer.
“It’s been fantastic having Michael and Tim, who are both fantastic goalkeepers, which really pushes myself to try and get the most out of them,” he continued.
“They’re obviously well established and have got hundreds of games between them so it’s always trying to push them and improve them, they;re always hungry to work and improve, so they’re a pleasure to work with in that respect.
“So it’s nothing but great to work with those types of people because they drive the sessions, they will help the younger goalkeepers, so that’s a really great environment to have.”
Under-23 keepers Aston Oxborough and Jon McCracken are also in the mix, looking to follow in the footsteps of the likes of Robert Green, Joe Lewis, Jed Steer, Declan Rudd and Remi Matthews in emerging from City’s academy to have a professional career at a good level, either with the Canaries or elsewhere.
“Generally I like to work with four goalkeepers and generally the manager will like to have four available for his training sessions day-to-day,” Wootten added.
“So we pair up normally, we have Jon (McCracken) and Aston (Oxborough) who will pair up and be able to work with a senior goalkeeper.
“They get a look at how a senior keeper like Tim and Michael work, their traits and techniques, pick up little bits and pieces from them, and that works really well.”
• You can watch the video interview above