‘He tried to put me on the straight and narrow... I probably never thanked him’ - Norwood’s debt of thanks to Town icon
- Credit: Archant
James Norwood has a debt of thanks to former Ipswich Town striker Marcus Stewart.
The Blues new No.10, signed from Tranmere this summer, is preparing for a first taste of regular League One football having scored 32 goals in the league below last season.
But he has played in the third tier before, featuring four times for Exeter as a teenager.
His professional debut in August 2009 saw him replace Town icon Stewart as a substitute in a game at Leeds, before partnering the Blues 2000/01 top scorer in his only other three games for the Grecians.
Now, 10 years on, Norwood looks back on the advice his former team-mate gave him and can see where he's put it into action.
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"I've not spoken to him since I signed for Ipswich but I'm sure I will at some point," Norwood said.
"I learnt a lot from him in those two years and did a lot of training with him and played a few games, too.
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"I probably never thanked him because, after a couple of things happened when I was there, he tried to put me on the straight and narrow.
"I look back and I'd played with some very good strikers, like Marcus, Jamie Cureton and Lee Hughes. You probably don't realise until you get to a certain age what they were really trying to do.
"Stewie would take me for finishing drills and I'd be thinking 'why am I doing these movements' but then I've watched myself over the last few years and thought that was exactly what he was trying to show me.
"If you can take on any information, even at this age now, then that's great.
"You're always looking to learn."
Norwood is now focussed on tackling the third tier, looking to make his mark after a decade away.
"It's come full circle really.
"I never saw myself dropping out of the league if I'm honest, I just didn't really get a chance to show what I could do when I was 18 or 19 because the situation was different.
"I missed a couple of opportunities to play in the league when I was younger to stay loyal to clubs I was at, then I probably got to the age where I thought the only way I was going to get back would be through promotions and showing what I can do."