Paul Lambert happy to mix and match Norwich City
A change and a rest both meet Paul Lambert's approval as Norwich City continue to adapt to life in the Premier League. Three promising outings to date have seen the Canaries' early work this season earn two points and a few admirers – but the City manager is well aware of the challenge ahead as West Bromwich Albion turn up at Carrow Road looking to kick-start their own campaign.
For two seasons – and two promotions – the formula was clear. Diamonds were pretty much forever, and a punishing schedule allowed City's momentum to flow.
But for making headway in the Premier League, Lambert is aware there will be more time between matches to ponder the ifs and whens – and a greater need to take every opponent as they come; one side fits all is not the way to go. Yet.
'We are new to it and until we find our feet, I don't think you can disrespect anybody and think you can just turn up and do what you did last year and the year before, and think you are going to do that against better footballers – it just doesn't work like that,' said Lambert.
'It doesn't really matter what system I play, it's about players.
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'They are the ones that make it work and the lads at the football club at the minute can adapt to certain things.'
Something no doubt helped by recruiting two out-and-out wingers in the shape of Anthony Pilkington and Elliott Bennett during the summer: 'That's the beauty about our players. They just seem to adapt to anything we do, which is a great thing to have as a footballer.
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'It just seems to be this group of players can adapt to different things.
'Sometimes you need the rest – because in the Premier League the intensity of the games is a lot higher and the quickness is there, so sometimes the rest can do you the world of good.
'But at the same time when you play Saturday, Tuesday, and you are on a roll, it just keeps on going.
'So I think it can work both ways, but I would rather have it this way than every Tuesday and Saturday.'
The two-week international break proved productive for some, with Simeon Jackson on target for Canada and Steve Morison doing likewise for Wales – his first international goal – alongside a bullish performance from Andrew Crofts against England.
All have arrived back at Colney in good health too.
On any normal week Declan Rudd's first trip with England Under-21s would also have been a highlight – but he already has bigger tasks ahead, as the 20-year-old from Diss steps into the gloves of a suspended John Ruddy for his top-flight debut.
The youngster stepped in for Ruddy last season, as well as for Fraser Forster in League One – but the level has now risen again.
'I have to play Declan but I have got no fear about him playing,' said Lambert. 'He's never let me down, never let himself down, so I don't have a problem. We spoke about recalling Jed, but he is at Yeovil and doing really well, so for his development he needs to play regularly.
'I trust him – I trust everyone of them to do a job. Yes, of course it is different for him.
'The prestige, it's live on television, there is more media attention, you are up against better players who can make things happen out of nothing – but that's the same for every outfield player.
'Even Dec being young, I don't have a problem with him going in goal.'