Russell Martin: Kei Kamara has surprised everyone at Norwich City
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Russell Martin has admitted Kei Kamara has surprised everyone with the impact he has made at Norwich City – even his team-mates.
The Sierra Leonean striker arrived on loan from Sporting Kansas City at the end of the January transfer window, where Kamara had barely started the MLS pre-season before being thrust into the Premier League season.
But the 28-year-old still hit the ground running with a goal in only his second top-flight appearance and a useful stint up front on his own as the 10-man Canaries battled out a draw at Sunderland before the international break.
As far as most City fans are concerned, keep up his current rate of improvement and Kamara won't be returned to play in the USA any time soon.
'It is the manager's decision (whether to sign him permanently) but yes, I love Kei,' said Martin. 'I think he has brought so much here. He has been a breath of fresh air really.
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'He has brought so much enthusiasm and sometimes it gets a little bit cynical in football and with people. But he is just enjoying every minute of it here. He is in the Premier League, he is living his dream and it's really nice to see.
'And I think he's not just a good lad, he's a really good player. He has been really effective and I think he did great for us again at Sunderland.
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'I think he's been brilliant. He has surprised all of us to be honest. You never know what you are going to get. The MLS is getting better and better, but you're never sure what you're getting.
'He has come in and I think he has surprised everyone. He is athletic but he is better on the ball than a lot of people give him credit for, and against Sunderland he did extremely well considering he's not fit yet really either; not fully match fit.
'He has not had games and he had a bit of time off before he came over, so for me he will only keep getting better and it is up to him to decide his future really. If he keeps it up, then I'm sure we will be more than interested in keeping him.'
Kamara has spent the international break away with Sierra Leone, who took on Tunisia for their latest 2014 World Cup qualifier – and that has had a minimal effect on the Canaries, who are not back in action until Saturday's crunch Premier League trip to relegation-threatened Wigan Athletic.
But City do know they will miss Kamara for the final exchanges of the season.
Due to MLS rules, the striker's loan finishes on May 6 – after which City host West Brom before their season comes to a close at defending champions Manchester City on May 19.
Even if City decide to make Kamara a permanent signing, it is understood the registration could not be completed until the transfer window reopens on July 1.