Surman surprised to be in thick of it
Andrew Surman didn't envisage his Norwich City career starting like this: four games, nine weeks out with injury, a surprise early return – and an order to start growing a moustache.
Fortunately for City fans, it seems the fitness will return before the fund-raising 'tache matures, judging by Saturday's appearance at Carrow Road.
Surman – a summer signing from Wolves – had only 45 minutes of play under his belt courtesy of a midweek friendly, but with a queue forming outside the treatment room, manager Paul Lambert opted to give him his first start since the August draw at Nottingham Forest. Even Surman – who had suffered a knee injury in training – wasn't expecting that.
'I was a little bit surprised,' he said. 'I thought it might be longer, but it's good to be back so early and hopefully I will be able to keep my place in the team.
'Obviously it's quite soon since I have been back from my injury, but in my own head I wanted to be back in the team as quickly as I could, so when the opportunity came along today it was great for me.'
Surman lasted 63 minutes, but by that time had shown the sort of quality which persuaded Lambert to invest in him. The good news is the post-match assessment was positive.
'I didn't feel too bad actually,' said Surman. 'You never know how you are going to feel. You do all the running and the work in the gym and everything in your rehab and stuff, but you never know what you are going to be like until you play a game.
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'I felt all right – my legs started to go a little bit, but I felt alright.
'I have a week's training now and I will try and get a bit more fitness out of that and hopefully this game will all be in the bank regarding fitness so I'm looking forward to next week now.
'As a footballer you don't want to get injured, it's the worst thing that can happen to you. I know it's part of being a footballer, but it is so frustrating, especially when you have played a few games and suddenly you are out for nine weeks and not involved in the squad or things like that.
'It's hard, but it has been a great feeling to come back in the squad and be involved again and obviously get a start today.
'I felt like I was finding a bit of form before I got injured and unfortunately it sets you back a bit when you get injured so you have to get that core fitness back and your game legs and stuff like that. That always take maybe a game or two.'
Apart from trying to edge his way into the treatment room – 'it was almost like the place to be' – Surman has had to cope with kicking every ball from the confines of a seat in the stands.
'I hate watching games,' he said. 'I feel like I've played after watching games. But it's been a good start. We have put ourselves in a good position near the top and have found ourselves looking up rather than down.'