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Premier League

Lambert backs Howson 'to be great'


Norwich yesterday signed the Leeds United captain Jonny Howson for an undisclosed fee. The midfielder has agreed a three-and-a-half-year contract with the Premier League club. The 23-year-old is the Canaries' first signing of the January transfer window.

Leeds said last week that they had "reluctantly" accepted an offer for Howson, whose deal at Elland Road expires in the summer. Howson made his Leeds debut against Hull City in 2006, before becoming the club's youngest captain since Billy Bremner when he was given the armband as a 19-year-old in April 2009.

The Norwich manager, Paul Lambert, said: "I think he has been brilliant for Leeds – how he has played but also being their captain brings its own demands. It's a fantastic club, Leeds. I think he can add goals to our midfield which I think we need and he can do that. He'll get better as a player the higher the level he goes up. If he does that and everything goes well, he'll be a great player for us."

Howson will wear shirt No 24 for Norwich. He has been out of action since last month because of a knee injury, but is hopeful of being fit soon. The England Under-21 international had mulled over a new deal at Leeds, but opted not to as they could not guarantee him top-flight football.

"I am going to a very good club with good support, but at the same time I know I'm leaving a club I've loved from being a young boy," Howson said. "That's not going to change. Everyone at Leeds is wanting Premier League football. The ambition is always there, but that is not guaranteed."