Norwich City to survive in the Premier League, says Roberts
Norwich City are entering the 'most competitive league in the world' according to Iwan Roberts – but the former international striker is confident they will survive in the Premier League under Paul Lambert.
Roberts played in the top flight with Leicester City in the mid-1990s and believes it is an even tougher proposition now for newly-promoted teams.
He said: 'In the six or seven years since I retired, squads have got better, squads have got fitter. The likes of Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool have world-class players, probably two in every position, and that's what you're up against.
'I think it's got better players, it's got quicker. You only have to look at the top scorers in the division. You don't get too many players scoring more than 15 league goals. That shows you how hard it is now to score goals in the Premier League.
'It's probably the most competitive league in the world. It's not a two-horse race like it has been for a few years.
'There are a few more teams now capable of winning it. There are probably 10 teams also capable of going down.'
Nevertheless, the 43-year-old Roberts is confident City will not suffer the same fate as in 2004-05, when their Premiership stay lasted just one season.
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'As soon as you get promoted, the bookies make you firm favourites to come straight back down,' he said.
'West Brom and Newcastle proved them wrong last year and I thought Blackpool were really unlucky to get relegated. I'm convinced there will be three teams worse than Norwich in that Premier League.'
Wales international Roberts, who scored 96 times for the Canaries in a seven-year stay but was released before the start of the Premiership campaign in 2004, said the more options available to manager Lambert, the better – so bringing in four new signings early in the close season was a wise move.
He said: 'You can only have a squad of 25 so it does limit you to a certain degree, but you need different options because players are going to go through lean spells, lack of form, injuries, so you need people who are more than capable of filling their shoes.
'That's what the manager has done. He's done it nice and early before the start of pre-season training.'
Roberts, appearing with former team-mate Paul McVeigh at the Community Sports Foundation stand at the Royal Norfolk Show to launch Aviva's 'On The Ball' Challenge, said the whole city eagerly anticipated Premier League football.
'It's an exciting time, it really is,' he said. 'It's great for the city of Norwich, for local businesses, great for the club, the revenue that Premier League football will bring into the hotels, restaurants, pubs, it's fantastic.
'You have to give Paul Lambert, his staff and the players so much credit because what they've achieved is unbelievable over the past 18 months to two years.'
Roberts now works for BBC Wales but hopes to watch City between broadcasting commitments.