Norwich midfielder Johnny Howson eyes England call-up

 

Norwich midfielder Johnny Howson is hoping a consistent run in the Premier League could place him on the radar of England manager Roy Hodgson.

Howson was an avid England supporter as Hodgson's side beat Moldova and drew against Ukraine during the two-week international break and hopes he could be involved one day, alongside clubmate John Ruddy who has earned a place as back-up to England goalkeeper Joe Hart.

At 24 Howson has one Under 21 cap behind him and is encouraged by the youngsters, such as Liverpool's Raheem Sterling and Tottenham's Jake Livermore, getting a chance in Hodgson's squad.

Howson said: "It's good that they give the younger lads a chance, but for me it's about playing well for Norwich.

"I'm sure if you perform well in this league you will not be too far away. There are a fair few new players getting a chance for England. If we need anyone to take inspiration from here it is John Ruddy. Last season he had a terrific season and has been rewarded for that internationally."

Howson, in particular, takes encouragement from the call-up of former Leeds team-mates Livermore as an additional player in the squad against Ukraine.

But Howson believes players need to be extra special to get noticed if they are playing for an unfashionable club such as Norwich and cites the case of striker Grant Holt who has been overlooked by England despite being one of the Premier League's top marksmen over the past 12 months.

Howson said: "You want to play consistently because if you are doing that the team is succeeding. But if you look at Grant Holt he has been very unfortunate. He had a terrific season last season and still didn't get the call-up which he deserved.

"He was the second-highest English goal scorer behind Wayne Rooney and still didn't get a chance. What more does he have to do?

"They may be looking at the bigger clubs. If you are playing for the bigger teams maybe you do have a better chance. I'm not just thinking about Norwich but some of the lads at say Swansea have been playing great and still not got a chance.

"I don't pick the team and can't do anything about it although it's something that is not impossible as John Ruddy has shown."

Howson will be looking to further his claims this weekend when Norwich take on West Ham at Carrow Road hoping to capitalise on two fine performances against QPR and Tottenham, even if they did only collect two points.

Manager Chris Hughton said: "I was delighted with those performances and we should have won them on the chances we had.

"Whether it is Manchester United or anyone else we go into all of our games striving to win, particularly at home."

Norwich face a daunting run of fixtures following West Ham, including games against Newcastle, Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal and Aston Villa and Hughton added: "They are very difficult on paper but we have to embrace them and not fear them."

Hughton is grateful that his side are unlikely to face Andy Carroll, the striker he knew well while at Newcastle, against West Ham. Carroll is injured but Hughton warns that Carlton Cole can present an equally potent threat.

Hughton said: "Cole has done an excellent job for West Ham. He is a difficult opponent and we will have to be at our best."

Hughton will check on the fitness of defender Russell Martin, who is back training but had to pull out of the Scotland squad because of an ankle injury. He will also wait on the recovery of Simeon Jackson who had a punishing travel itinerary over the international break with Canada.

PA

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