'It will shock a few people... but things get twisted' - Norwood on Town captaincy
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Match-winner James Norwood admitted he was surprised to be asked to captain Ipswich Town in their 2-1 victory over Swindon.
The striker took the armband for the Blues’ eventual 2-1 victory at the County Ground, scoring both goals and also missing a second-half penalty which denied him his first Ipswich hat-trick.
Norwood admitted many supporters will have been surprised to see him given the responsibility by manager Paul Cook, but was proud to be trusted by his boss.
“I think it will shock a few people,” said the 30-year-old, who has attracted criticism from some fans for his online persona during his time with the Blues. “It shocked me a little bit.
“But I think things get twisted outside of the club and people have their own views and agendas on what happens inside.
“The gaffer’s seen how I am in the club and how I am in training and then trusted me with the armband today. Whether that stays (for Tuesday’s game at Shrewsbury) is different because Chambo (Luke Chambers) is the club captain.
“But if he has seen what I am and thinks I’m a leader then I would be proud to wear it again on Tuesday if Chambo isn’t selected.
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“I’m one of the first in in the mornings and one of the last to leave. It’s my job but I love football. I like to have a laugh but when I’m on the pitch it’s game time, I switch personalities and all I want to do is win.
“I try and be vocal, try and lead the line and we have some great young lads here with great careers ahead of them. If I can come and help them then that’s great.”
When asked if he would fancy the captaincy full-time one day, the striker replied: “I refuse to answer that question while Chambo’s at the club.”
He continued: “We need 11 leaders on the pitch. It’s so cliché to say that but we do. If we’re going to challenge for titles and be successful then we need 11 people on the pitch who are going to pick each other up and lead the line.
“We need two centre-halves who are going to push people forward and two central midfielders who are going to battle and create. Everyone needs to pick each other up and we need 11 men out there.
“We have a young team but we need people who are grown up. The lads are starting to show that now.”
The Blues produced a good display in Wiltshire, much improved compared to recent weeks, as Norwood’s goals helped end a scoring drought which had passed the 11-hour mark prior to the striker’s first of the afternoon.
“Things came together a little bit more and we did some good things, making chances which is something we’ve obviously been lacking this season,” he said.
“If we start putting those away then I think it would have been a really good performance.
“I think some of the criticism (from the manager) is justified because as players we expect to win. At a club of this stature we expect to be up there and challenging for titles and we’ve let ourselves down.
“We have to work harder. Today shows we’re going in the right direction and now we have two games to keep that up and take it into next season.”
He could have left with the match ball, had he not fired a second half penalty wide as he missed from the spot for the third time in his Ipswich career.
“I’m massively disappointed,” he admitted. “The lads are happy after the win and I’m sat in there with my head in my hands.
“It’s a free shot at goal from 12 yards and I don’t think I’d missed one of those in my career until I came to Ipswich, but now I’ve missed two or three.
“I’m massively frustrated with it myself because it’s a free shot. So not to hit the target is something I’ll be thinking about for a while.”
Norwood’s brace too him to nine goals for the season, with the former Tranmere man now hoping to reach double figures before the campaign ends.
“I’ve been hitting double figures now for 10 or 11 years so I need to continue that and take it into next season,” he said.
“If I can get a couple more before the end of the season it can show people I can still four goals if fit.
“Playing up front in this system is the role I played at Tranmere and I have great No.10s here in Troy (Parrott) and Bish (Teddy Bishop) as well as two very creative wingers.
“I felt if a couple more chances had dropped to me then I would have put them in. Hopefully some more balls start dropping.”