Norwich City skipper Sebastien Bassong insists the time has come to deliver
- Credit: PA
Norwich City's new team captain Sebastien Bassong admits the time has now come for the players to perform after praising the club's ambition during the summer transfer market.
Bassong yesterday appeared to rule himself out of Saturday's Premier League opener against Everton after making his pre-season comeback from knee surgery earlier this week in a development league game at Colney.
But the reigning player-of-the-year is convinced City's top brass have improved the quality threshold at Chris Hughton's disposal for the campaign ahead.
'I think we have added a good quality to the squad and we needed it. We are always looking to improve the squad,' he said. 'As a team we just want to get better and better and as players the same applies. The club has done a lot of great work during the summer so now it is down to us to keep that going. The club did well to attract the players they have and I am looking forward to linking up with them. I think they will only make us better.
'Norwich have got to improve but we have to be stable in the Premier League so, yes, the expectation must be to stay in the Premier League again.
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'Last year we finished 11th so if we can get around that position again why not aim even higher. '
Bassong has endured a frustrating close-season, but the centre-back is prepared to bide his time to make his first team return.
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'I think maybe next week I will be available for selection,' he said. 'I've had the surgery and the rehab and I need some minutes playing to get back on track. I don't expect to play any part against Everton but that of course is up to the manager. The team look in great shape. We've been working hard and that has shown in some of the results against pretty good teams. It is a good sign for the future, but friendlies are one thing - the league season is another thing.'
Bassong and Russell Martin were unveiled by Hughton as Grant Holt's successor as captain prior to last weekend's pre-season finale against Panathinaikos. The Parisian-born defender intends to lead by example.
'It won't change me as a player. It gives me more responsibility, maybe,' he said. 'I was a captain a couple of times with Spurs in the Europa League and sometimes the league as well so that is something I have experience of. I wasn't looking for that role but that is me, that is natural. Being a captain is inside you, whether you are a born a leader or not.
'I am really honoured and really pleased to be given that responsibility to be team captain. I'll try my best to lead the team.
'I don't think you need to be shouting or directing players on the pitch. You do not need the armband to be a leader. We have a lot of leaders on the pitch.'