Newcastle defender’s debt to Norwich City mentor Chris Hughton
- Credit: PA Wire/Press Association Images
Newcastle centre back Mike Williamson insists there can be no special favours to the 'great man' who gave him his big break in the Premier League ahead of Chris Hughton's latest return to the north-east with Norwich City.
Hughton signed the 29-year-old defender during his successful stint in charge at St James' Park and Williamson admitted on the eve of their latest reunion he owes a massive debt to the Canaries' chief.
'I have the utmost respect for him,' he said. 'He is a great man, a fantastic manager and even though they have had a tough start to the season I am sure he will pull them around. I just hope it comes the following weekend after we have played them (on Saturday).
'The expectation is always high in the city but the Premier League does not have easy games.
'You saw in Norwich's last game how they came back from 1-0 down what they are about. They have a fantastic manager and a fantastic team. We know on our day we can beat anyone in this league and it is striving for that consistency.'
Williamson has been part of a Magpies' defence which kept clean sheets in impressive league wins against title-contending duo Chelsea and Tottenham prior to the current international break.
'The clean sheets have been pleasing. I'm a no-nonsense type of defender so on a personal level I pride myself on clean sheets and it is nice to look back at that,' Williamson told the club's official site. 'We have worked on defending from the front as a team and we have showed that against two very attack-minded sides.
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'Its always a better atmosphere after a couple of wins but the manager has just tried to recreate that intensity (in training) during this period with no games. Now you want the internationals to come back fine to carry on that momentum.'
The Canaries' task on Tyneside this weekend will be made little easier with Williamson's central defensive rival Fabricio Coloccini pushing hard for a recall after being on the bench in the win over Spurs following his recovery from a groin injury suffered last month away on international duty with Argentina.
'The jerseys are there to be won. Colo is a world class player,' said Williamson. 'It will only be a matter of time before he gets back in. He's a fantastic leader around the changing room but it will change from one week to the next.
'I'm just grateful to get the opportunity (to play). As long as the results keep coming like the last couple of games, I'm sure the manager will keep it the same.'