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Warne-ing for Norwich

PUBLISHED: 08:00 09 May 2009 | UPDATED: 09:28 06 July 2010

Chris Lakey

Norwich City have been given a dire warning of what the future holds in League One next season - and says it's not place for shirkers. It comes from a man who knows all about the third tier of English football - and knows all about Norwich City.

Norwich City have been given a dire warning of what the future holds in League One next season - and says it's not place for shirkers.

It comes from a man who knows all about the third tier of English football - and knows all about Norwich City.

Paul Warne has plied his trade in the lower divisions for more than a decade, but although he plays for Yeovil he's a Canaries fans at heart, having been born and brought up in Norfolk.

It leaves him uniquely qualified to assess what lies ahead - and he says Premier League glory boys are not the answer.

“I think with loanees if you have too many of them you don't really have the essence of Norwich City, you have five or six Norwich City players, you have two at Fulham one at Middlesbrough and you don't have the dressing room like you should have,” said Warne.

“Norwich might be able to attract players from Arsenal reserves but League One is not a place for potential Ronaldo.

“I don't think Norwich should go after players like that. I think Norwich should go after hungry players who graft, who put it all in every single game.

“I don't disagree with the loan player system, I think it's good, but you have to get the right characters in.

“I do think you can get good players through the loan system, but you have to be very selective with the characters you get.

“Certain managers can motivate certain players to play at a certain level, but that isn't all of what football is about, you must get the right characters.

“I've been lucky in my career that I have had a couple of promotions and played in really good teams to get in play-offs in the lower leagues, but it not the fact that we have had the 11 best players in the league, far from it.

“At Rotherham we were like a pub team ability wise, but we had the best characters in the league, we had 15 brilliant characters in the dressing room and that's what Norwich lacked.

“When I watched Norwich play Reading I didn't see leaders and characters. I'm not saying blood and guts but people who would literally sweat for the team.”

It's a damning indictment on City's practises in recent years, but Warne - who played local football for Wroxham and was in Diss Town's FA Vase winning team in 1994 - believes whoever take charge has a huge task ahead in rebuilding the squad.

“I just hope that whoever takes over at Norwich doesn't just go for the big names and say, 'look who we've got',” said Warne, who played alongside Alan Lee and Mark Robins in the Rotherham side which won promotion to the Championship in 2001.

“They should look in this league and the league below and upsetting as that might be to some Norwich fans and I think they would get hungry players who would perform for Norwich and be very motivated for Norwich and that's what I would like as a Norwich fan.

Even if the next manager does get his recruitment right, there are other issues.

“I have played most of my career in League One, an experienced pro as they say, and it's a sad thing that has happened to Norwich - but it's happened to Leeds as well so I don't think Norwich are guaranteed to jump straight back up,” said Warne, 36.

“If anything it's going to be more difficult than they think. I'm not saying the football is outstanding by any stretch of the imagination, but the obvious thing is that any club that comes to Norwich is going to come thinking they have got nothing to lose.

“You go like Yeovil will next season with loads of fans, because they have never been to Norwich's ground before, there is no pressure on us to win so we can go and play. We are quite a good footballing side so I fancy a lot of teams will come to Norwich like they did Leeds this season and fancy their chances of getting something.”

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