Norwich City’s Alex Tettey is now a star of Norway
Midfielder Alex Tettey is determined not go overboard about his start to Premier League life with Norwich City as his fan club grows in his homeland.
The Norway international was sought out for TV interviews after playing a key role in the Canaries' 1-0 win over Arsenal.
But 26-year-old Tettey, who helped set up the only goal for Grant Holt to give his new club their first league win of the season, was keen to play down his contribution.
While admitting it is a 'dream come true' to be facing Chelsea and Arsenal, teams he had seen mostly on TV until this season, he is keen to keep a low profile.
'No, I'm not loving it,' he said of all the new attention. 'People are happy for me that things are going well. But I told them last week they should calm down, it was a win for the whole group, not for me.
'I'm happy I played OK. There is not much more to it. I don't want to talk that much about my game.'
Tettey has joined Fulham pair John Arne Riise and Brede Hangeland in flying the flag for Norway in England's top flight, and is set to make his fourth Premier League appearance in the televised early kick-off at Aston Villa tomorrow (12.45pm) – and the Norwegian fans will doubtless be tuning in.
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'Not only are they following the three players but they love watching the Premier League,' said Tettey. 'If you go to Norway and you mention Liverpool, people will be going crazy. Or if you mention Manchester United they know everything. They have coverage of every match in Norway so they have a lot of big followers.
'Normally when I was playing in Norway or in France and was not playing Saturday or Sunday, I was watching the Premier League. So going from the sofa watching the Premier League to being on the pitch to play, for me that is a huge thing.
'I'm really happy that I have started to play games. The Arsenal game was my third 90 minutes. I remember after Chelsea I needed four or five days to get the game out of my body. After Arsenal I needed two days so things are going forward and I hope my form can be better than it is now.
'You have to be in shape. I didn't play a lot of games before I came and that's why it's taking a little bit longer but now it's getting better.'
Tettey, paired with Bradley Johnson in the centre of midfield, agreed that City did not get the credit they deserved for beating the Gunners, but accepted the focus was always on the big clubs.
'I was very happy because we had been working really hard when we got the international break and I think that paid off against Arsenal,' he said. 'People were saying they were bad but I think we also were playing well and defending well. That's normal because Arsenal is a big team and nobody would be talking about Norwich if we lost the game. But when we won and were playing well they were still talking about Arsenal. So I think we have to let it go.'
Tettey has an eye for goal after scoring on his City debut against Doncaster in the Capital One Cup, and it was his powerful shot that Arsenal keeper Vito Mannone spilled into the path of Holt for last week's winner.
'That's a part of my game. I'm a box to box player,' he said. 'I like to go forward but also I have to listen to the manager and how he wants to use me. Against Arsenal I was playing a holding role with Brad, but when you are on the field and you see good opportunities you can use them yourself and I tried to find a space and the right moment to go forward.'
As a new arrival, Tettey knows little of former City boss Paul Lambert, now in charge at Villa. And manager Chris Hughton was playing down the Lambert connection.
'Whether theres going to be any extra spice with the supporters I don't know. Certainly from our point of view, it doesn't make any difference,' said Hughton. 'We are up against a good Villa team who are playing at home and will have great support behind them. Once that whistle goes only one thing matters.
'Of course it is different in some ways because of the previous manager. It is a very, very small detail. The bigger detail is it is three points to play for and from Paul's point of view I am sure it will be exactly the same. We have a group of players who were grateful to Paul for the magnificent job he did here, but irrespective of any other circumstances, it is about three points.'
Hughton has the option of naming an unchanged side from the Arsenal game, with goalkeeper Mark Bunn and on-loan striker Harry Kane the only senior players currently sidelined. Defender Steven Whittaker returned to action in City U21s' 3-0 defeat at Reading after nearly 13 weeks out with ankle ligament damage, but Hughton regards tomorrow's game as too soon for a first team recall.
Villa boss Lambert's main injury concern is in the centre of defence. Nathan Baker suffered a twisted ankle in the 1-0 defeat at Fulham, a game that Ciaran Clark missed with a knee injury. Veteran Richard Dunne has yet to appear this season because of a groin injury. It could mean a switch from full-back to centre-back for Matt Lowton, with Eric Lichaj brought into the starting line-up.