Norwich look to long term with Ashton

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The Independent Online

Nigel Worthington insists Norwich City's new £3m striker Dean Ashton is "not the Messiah for Premiership football".

Nigel Worthington insists Norwich City's new £3m striker Dean Ashton is "not the Messiah for Premiership football".

The Norfolk club broke their transfer record to land the highly rated England Under-21 international, whose 20 goals for Crewe had made him the leading marksman in the Coca-Cola Championship.

Although Worthington's side has secured the firepower they desperately needed in the battle to avoid relegation, he maintained yesterday that the transfer was not only about what the 21-year-old striker does between now and the end of the campaign.

"We are looking at the long term, not just the next five months and it is not up to him whether [we] stay in the division or we don't," said Worthington, whose team are third from bottom of the Premiership.

"He is not in here as the Messiah for Premiership football. That does not rest on his shoulders. He is here to add to us and, regardless of where we are after the summer, he will be part of this club going forwards."

Worthington is, though, confident Ashton can reproduce his goalscoring form in the top flight, and looks set to give the 21-year-old a debut against Aston Villa on Saturday.

"He is one of the best young British strikers in the country and has been over the last three or four years - he has proved that with the goals that he has scored. He has been consistent at that level and I think the time has arrived for him to challenge himself at the top end, and Norwich are prepared to give him that opportunity."

Ashton is in no doubt he can succeed among the best. "I feel as if I have proven I can score in the Championship and if there is ever a time I am ready, then it is now," he said.

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