Waiting game pays off for Norwich City defender Ryan Bennett

Ryan Bennett's assured return to Norwich City's Premier League line up was a testament to the defender's patience.

The England U21 international's previous top flight start this season came in the heavy opening day defeat at Fulham. Bennett has since had to settle for a bit-part role during the club's renaissance before grabbing his chance at Goodison Park after Michael Turner was ruled out through injury.

'The first game was a big defeat and quite rightly the manager had to change something and he chose to change the back four,' he said. 'I think everybody has seen the lads who have come in, Barney (Leon Barnett) came in at first with Seb (Bassong) and they did very well together.

'I was watching that and I was happy for them. If they're doing well, nothing's going to change. Then Turner has got his chance to play alongside Seb and everybody has seen in the last six games how well they've done. I think I saw somewhere they didn't concede for five hours of football, which is a great achievement in this league. It was nice to watch that and pick up what they were doing in training. The manager made his decision and they've proved his decision right, really. They have done very well for him and the results have picked up, so fair play to them.'

Bennett is poised to retain his place alongside Bassong at the heart of the Canaries' backline for tomorrow's test at Southampton after a solid showing on Merseyside.

'It was very nice to be back. It's been a long time,' he said. 'It was nice to get a chance and we got a good result and I thought it was a good performance. I hope I can get an extended run now. That's what everyone wants and I'm no different so hopefully I can continue to play and continue to do well.

'It was very good to play alongside Seb. I see him every day in training, and as I say I've watched games that he's played with different partners this season and I know the qualities he has and he will know mine so he complemented me well. He's a good leader.'

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Bennett revealed he is no stranger to Rickie Lambert or St Mary's after his previous stint in the lower leagues with Peterborough.

'I played against him a couple of times in the Championship. He's a good player and I hope we can stop him,' he said. 'Every time I've played against them their attacking players have done very well. They've got the new lad, (Gaston) Ramirez, who I've not seen before and I'm sure they'll come as a good attacking unit to us. it has been well documented the amount of money they've spent.

'They've started to pick their performances up and we know it will be a tough game.

'They have good quality in their side, which is no different to any side in this league. We know they're going to work hard. We will have a plan and we'll go out there and give it our best performance and I'm sure if we play well we definitely have what it takes to win.'