HUDDERSFIELD Town boss Simon Grayson is confident Oliver Norwood will make his World Cup mark with Northern Ireland.
The gifted 21-year-old Town midfielder is hoping to earn his eighth full cap in this evening’s qualifier against Fabio Capello’s Group F heavyweights Russia at the Lokomotiv Stadium in Moscow.
Norwood – recommended by none other than former Manchester United teammate Paul Scholes – has made an impressive start to his John Smith’s Stadium career.
And Grayson – who could well look to strengthen his squad when the loan transfer window opens tomorrow – is confident the classy No4 has a long career ahead with both club and country.
“If Northern Ireland have seen the impact Oliver has made on our team in the first four games then maybe it will influence them into giving him an opportunity,” said Grayson.
“I know he is very happy to be involved with the national side in any capacity, but I am sure he could make an impact because we are very happy with how he has settled into our team and our squad.”
Coach Glynn Snodin worked with Norwood at international level when Nigel Worthington was manager – Southampton’s Steven Davis is their experienced midfield hub – and also believes he won’t let down new boss Michael O’Neill if given the nod against Russia, or against Luxembourg at Windsor Park on Tuesday.
“I could see there were little bits and bobs to work on with Ollie but he has done fantastically well,” said Snodin.
“He had a tremendous schooling at Manchester United, went to Scunthorpe in League I and then Coventry in the Championship, where he took them by storm in a team fighting against relegation.
“We spoke to one or two people about him – Paul Scholes gave him a great shout, to be fair – and when one of the best players in Britain was saying those things about him we knew we were onto a player.
“He will get better with age, like that excellent bottle of red wine, and he’s got a great football brain.
“Ollie will make mistakes, which all players do, but he won’t hide. He will be up and at ‘em again and wanting the ball and he’s not only got an eye for goal, but he takes a lovely set piece as well, so he’s got an awful lot to offer.”