Brighton & Hove Albion loanee Elliott Bennett says he is a better player now than the one that left for Norwich City in 2011.
Bennett moved to Carrow Road following Albion’s League One title success, having picked up the League One Player of the Year trophy in the process, but the midfielder says regular Premier League football has made him a more complete player.
He told Seagull, the club’s matchday programme, “You find yourself improving, simply because you are playing with top-quality players and often against some of the best players in the world.
“What struck me was the speed of thought of these players, and where it might take me two or three touches to get the ball down and think what I was going to do next, they had done it in one.
“Some of these players have played at that level for a long time, so it took a period of adjustment, but the opportunity to test myself in that kind of environment was something I’d always dreamed about. I would like to think I am now a better player because of that experience.”
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Bennett played almost 60 top-flight games prior to Norwich’s relegation last season and the midfielder is anticipating a close encounter when the sides meet in Championship action at Carrow Road on November 22.
He added, “Norwich have assembled a fantastic squad, with a lot of quality players, and the target is to win promotion straight back to the Premier League.
“But there are probably 10 or 12 teams who realistically have a chance of getting promoted and you really don’t know who is going to win from one week to the next.
“Take us at Norwich; we lost the opening game, then won five of our next six games and were top of the league. Then we picked up just one league win in seven. That’s how it is. It’s a lot more competitive than the Premier League but if you can get on a run, you’ll soon start climbing the table.”
Bennett, who will be ineligible for the game, has already made an impression with the Seagulls, helping the side to a 1-0 win against Wigan, while picking up the man-of-the-match award against Blackburn on Saturday.
“I’m here to play games and repay the faith the manager and the club have shown in bringing me back here. Hopefully I can have a really positive impact on the pitch and off it.
“Yes, our current position isn’t great, we’re there for a reason, but we’ve got a talented squad here and things can quickly turn around.”
* The full interview with Elliott can be found in Saturday’s issue of Seagull v Blackburn Rovers, still available in the Amex Superstore, priced £3.50, or available to purchase online at seagullsdirect.co.uk