Norwich City frustrations leave Steve Whittaker wanting a fresh start at Carrow Road
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Steven Whittaker admits it's been a frustrating first season for him at Carrow Road – but plans to start afresh for his second crack at the Premier League.
Injuries at key times plagued the Scot's first season at Norwich City following his move from financially crippled Glasgow Rangers, as a pre-season ankle knock at Celtic curtailed his involvement from the start of the season.
And while Whittaker was a key part in City's superb 10-game unbeaten league run, a back injury in December put him back on the sidelines and left him battling for game time right up to the final match of the campaign.
'When I first joined, I sustained an injury in pre-season and missed the first few weeks of the campaign – and when I got into the team I played about 12 games in a row and that coincided with a good spell,' said Whittaker.
'That was a great time and I felt things were starting to get on to the right track. But then I suffered another injury which kept me out for a month and I wasn't able to get back into the startling line-up as often as I wanted to after returning.
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'I had a couple of games, but I was champing at the bit. The defence was doing all right, though, and the manager didn't want to change.
Towards the end of the season, perhaps you could say I was little frustrated at not playing more, but you have to look at the standard of player around and understand. I'm just looking to get a solid pre-season next term and start afresh.'
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Before Whittaker takes his summer break and readies himself for the Canaries, he is aiming to finish the season on a relative high with Scotland. Gordon Strachan's men travel to Zagreb to face group leaders Croatia in their World Cup qualifier on Friday, desperate to put right suggestions the current Scotland group is among the worst in the country's history.
'Even when I was at Rangers I can recall we were branded the worst team ever,' he told The Scotsman. 'In my five years there, we won three SPL titles, two Scottish Cups and a CIS Cup, yet that is what we were still branded. To me, it's just all hearsay. We all know that we are capable on our day.'
We've shown that at our clubs.
'It is just about trying to get it all together and putting it on to the same page when we go away with Scotland. We definitely have players who are capable of going on to the international stage and performing well.'