Drilled Sargent eyes major role in Norwich march

10 January 2024 0 By Total Football News

Josh Sargent smiles as he says what a lot of Norwich fans may have been thinking for large parts of this season.

“We have some games where it’s very good and some games it looks like we don’t know what we’re doing,” he tells Sky Sports.

“I think we need to find that consistency of figuring out what our game plan is and sticking to it, and not going rogue and kind of just doing what we want to do.”

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At times Norwich have been excellent, with a real thread of talent running through their side. At other times their form has been perplexing.

It is probably why a club so often used to challenging at the very top of this league, at the very least, are currently submerged in mid-table.

Not that Sargent, 23, can take a huge amount of the blame. He has only just returned from a four-month injury absence – picked up while scoring against Huddersfield way back in August.

Had he been fit for the entirety, Norwich would likely be closer to the top six. He showed his importance to the side with his brilliant equaliser against Southampton on New Year’s Day – his fourth of the campaign in just his sixth appearance.

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It felt good to get back among the goals so quickly following his return to the fray.

“I didn’t know if my ankle would affect me more than I thought it would,” Sargent admits. “But scoring that goal has definitely helped me get confidence and kind of tell myself that I can do this thing.

“Especially with the way things started at the beginning of the season. I’d started so well – it was probably the best I’d felt since I’ve been here – and it was just good to be back.

It’s been frustrating. It’s not easy when you have been out for a while.

“It’s always tough sitting on the sidelines and not being able to do anything to help your team. But I feel like I’m in a good place again.”

Sargent is the epitome of a team player. He has always seen himself as a No 9, but for a lot of his career so far in Germany and England he has been used in a wide role.

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At Werder Bremen and Norwich he was always just happy to be on the field and helping the side. Now he wants the opportunity to show what he can do, long-term, in his favourite role.

“Growing up, I played striker pretty much my whole life,” he says. “And it was just when I got to my first professional team in Bremen, we were going through relegation and didn’t have a real true winger. So they were like – ‘you’re the young guy, go play out wide’.

“I was going to take the minutes either way. And that’s how it was for a couple of years, just playing as a winger. It wasn’t really my position, but I was just kind of getting on with it.

“I’m the type of guy, I’ll play for my team, I’ll do what it takes to get on the pitch.

“But I’m very happy to be in a striker role now.”

He is also aiming to fill the void left following the departure of club legend Teemu Pukki, the Finland striker who steered them to two separate promotions to the Premier League.

“I obviously loved playing with Teemu when he was here, but also I love that I’m in more of a main role as well,” admits Sargent.

“And I don’t mind the pressure or whatever it is. I don’t really feel like it is pressure.

“I just try to go out and enjoy the football that we play.”

Should Sargent’s good form continue, it will benefit Norwich and eventually the USA.

He featured in all three group games at the last World Cup, before missing their last-16 exit against the Netherlands through injury.

The next tournament is on home turf in the USA. Sargent will be reaching his peak by the time that one rolls around.

It is the chance of a lifetime.

“Obviously any kid growing up dreams of representing their country,” he says.

“It would be insane to play in a World Cup in your home country, so it’s definitely a goal for me to be there.

“Obviously any chance to play in a World Cup is a huge honour, against the best of the best, so any chance I can get to play in one.

“I’m going to do my absolute best to get there.”

It is the type of drive and determination will no doubt benefit Norwich in the seasons to come.

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