Pilkington had heart set on move to Norwich City
Norwich City new boy Anthony Pilkington revealed yesterday his heart was set on joining the Canaries' Premier League crusade.
The 23-year-old completed the formalities on a three-year deal earlier this week from League One outfit Huddersfield despite reported late interest from City's top-flight rivals Wolves and Stoke. Pilkington admitted Norwich had an unlikely trump card in their bid for his services.
'I did hear a few clubs were circling but I had already made my mind up and it was set on Norwich,' he said. 'I have a good friend who was down here before, Michael Rose, and he was the one who pushed me towards the city. He told me everything about the club and as soon as I spoke to him and Lee Clark my heart was set on Norwich.
'Once I knew that Norwich had put a bid in for me I asked the gaffer and the chairman if I could speak to them and to be fair they looked after me while I was there and they have been great for me and my family.
'When I spoke to Lee Clark the first time he said he wouldn't have a problem with me coming down here. He told me everything about the club, about the fans and how everyone inside the club is great. He told me, 'go down there, you'll really enjoy it and you'll do really well for the club.''
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Fellow close-season signing de Laet also had no hesitation in leaving Premier League champions Manchester United on a season-long loan switch. 'It's a big club and I am just looking forward to playing in the Premier League,' he said. 'I didn't really have to speak to anyone at Manchester United about the move. They must have been happy for me to come here otherwise they wouldn't have agreed to it.
'I'm just happy to be playing for Norwich football club. I'm not sure if any other clubs came in for me. All I know is they rang me and said Norwich were interested and I wasn't going to wait for a second club or a second chance. It's a chance to play in the Premier League and I was just happy Norwich came in.
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'They are a great club with a great tradition and winning back-to-back promotions is special so that tells me the lads in the dressing room must have something special as well. It was just a great opportunity for me. I can't wait for the season to start now. I just want it to come around quickly and start well.'
Former Leeds midfielder Bradley Johnson was the third member of Paul Lambert's summer intake officially unveiled yesterday. Lambert hailed the 24-year-old's combative qualities and Johnson is relishing the chance to stake his claim for a spot in the Canaries' engine room.
'I had some good battles with Norwich during my time at Leeds,' he said. 'I know how good the team is and what a good bunch of lads they are. I've settled in well already and I can't wait for the season to start now. I wouldn't say it's a nasty streak – it's just the desire to win like the manager said. I'm a sore loser, I can tell you that. I want to win every game and I think that just shows in my performance.'