Norris backed to be Pompey ‘complete midfielder’

Gaffer: Surreal experience but a deserved Pompey win

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David Norris can be the complete midfielder for Pompey.

That’s the verdict of former Blues favourite Ray Crawford, who is adamant the ex-Ipswich man will establish himself as a firm Fratton favourite.

Norris will become the first signing of the new Pompey regime as manager Steve Cotterill seeks to boost his meagre squad numbers ahead of the 2011-12 season.

The midfielder has been coveted by many clubs – both in the Premier League and Championship – since becoming a free agent, yet Fratton Park has long appeared to be his destination.

Crawford, who had two spells at Portman Road side during his career, knows all about the strengths of the former Plymouth man.

The Ipswich legend worked as a summariser with Radio Suffolk for two-and-a-half years before appearing on Express FM last season as a pundit for Pompey games.

During that time he saw plenty of Norris for the Tractor Boys.

And it was more than enough to convince him the goal-scoring midfielder will represent an outstanding signing for Pompey.

Crawford said: ‘Do you know what, I cannot understand why Ipswich have allowed him to go.

‘Apparently, he wanted a three-year deal. Well, give it to him because I think he is a fantastic player.

‘He’s captain, scores goals, defends well, is very mobile, has great energy – the lad does the lot, he really does. The complete midfielder.

‘How do you replace somebody like that? They all love him up there.

‘Not that I am complaining. We’ve got him now, which is fantastic because he will be a big hit.

‘Norris can play anywhere in midfield, he is that good.

‘He has this amazing energy to get up and down the pitch, which means he will perform in any position you ask.

‘I actually think centre midfield is his best role.

‘He will cover people, when they are caught out he goes across and will challenge anyone breaking through either side.

‘For years I watched him home and away for Ipswich and he never had a bad game, always top notch.

‘What you see is what you get with him, I cannot speak highly enough of Norris.

‘He is the ideal player for any team because of his energy and commitment, the fans will love him.’

Norris bagged 11 goals in 43 matches for Ipswich last season.

It was a remarkable haul from the centre of midfield for a player who has an impressive scoring record.

The amount of goals coming from the centre of the park has long been a problem for Pompey.

Blues fans will be hoping the arrival of the 30-year-old can finally solve that headache.

Norris’ pedigree is certainly impressive, having also found the net in spells at Boston and Plymouth.

In total, he has notched 49 goals in his career so far.

And Crawford is certain he will maintain that record in Pompey colours.

He added: ‘I have seen Norris kick off the goal line and then get to the other end to knock them in from six yards out.

‘He will always get you goals because he knows where the net is and has the energy and work-rate to get into the box on a regular basis.

‘I look at Jonathan Hogg and I know he did okay but I want someone to get six to eight goals from midfield every season.

‘He never looks like he is going to score and, to be honest, I’ve not been that impressed with him.

‘Norris, though, will make a big impact and I’m looking forward to watching him again.’