Sheffield United: New signing Oliver Norwood says he would rather be a Blade after a proposed move to tomorrow's Carabao Cup opponents Hull City collapsed
Oliver Norwood is glad his proposed transfer to Hull City collapsed earlier this summer, confirming he would rather play for Sheffield United instead.
The Brighton and Hove Albion midfielder made the admission after joining Chris Wilder's side on loan until January, when the move will become permanent.
With City set to visit Bramall Lane in the Carabao Cup tomorrow, Norwood's first appearance for his new club is expected to come against a team which spent most of the close season attempting to sign him before Wilder stepped into the breach.
"They did try to sign me," the Northern Ireland international said. "They tried quite hard but this is football, it is business. They couldn’t get the deal done and Sheffield United did. To be honest, I would much rather have come to Sheffield United than go there, if I am honest."
A member of the Albion squad which finished second in the Championship two years ago, Norwood secured his second successive promotion after spending last term on loan with play-off winners Fulham. Speaking at the Steelphalt Academy yesterday, he revealed United first expressed a desire to sign him several months ago before resurrecting their interest following Lee Evans' sale to Wigan Athletic on Friday morning.
"This was a move we had spoken about earlier in the summer," Norwood, who was born in Burnley, explained. "It was a deal the club wanted to do. At the time, there was no vacancies, as such.
Plus, the lads did well last year and he (Wilder) wanted to give them another chance.Then, an opportunity arose to move a player on and he was straight on the ‘phone.
"I was sold straight away. A big thing for me is moving back up north. I have been down south for four years and I enjoyed my time but I am a northerner.
"Every chance I got, I would be coming back up here. I love it in the north. This is an opportunity to join a club going in the direction this one is and the football that is being played, plus the team here."
Despite finishing 10th last season, United entered the penultimate match of the campaign chasing a top six berth and Norwood continued: "This club feels a good fit. I want to be in a dressing room with a good camaraderie. When you know you are up against it, you can look round and think, ‘These lads have it’.
"Look at last season, there were people doubting and questioning the lads at times last season but they kept coming back. They had a wonderful season for a team coming out of League One.
"I genuinely fancied Sheffield United to make the play-offs last season. I honestly did. Maybe that little bit of knowhow and experience is there this time.
"A couple of players who have been through that experience can help push it on."
"I have been through the last two seasons and to play at Wembley in the play-off final was unbelievable, especially with 90,000 there," he added. "I know this league well and have played more than 250 games in it. I know my way around and looking forward to getting going."
Two of Norwood's 41 appearances for Fulham came against United, including November's 5-4 victory over Wilder's team.
Reflecting upon that match, which proved the catalyst for the Londoners' surge up the table, he said: "Sheffield United were tough to play against last season. Very tough. I played in the 5-4 here and our season turned round a bit.
"The game had both teams playing unbelievable football. It was a shame there had to be a loser. One of those where we both went for it and that is what I like about this team, they go on the front foot.
"At Christmas we were out of it. But this is a league where you can put a run together and be in touching distance of that top six very quickly.
"We were 17th in November and finished third. It was a hell of a run but momentum can do that in the Championship. Teams start to fear you. We can make Bramall Lane a fortress. I know how difficult it can be to play there as the opposing side. The fans give their players extra energy."
"I would take three in a row, yes," he added. "I had two wonderful seasons with two different clubs. Any experience I can bring to push this club on would be great.
"We all want the same things as footballers and that is promotion. We all want to play in the Premier League. Sheffield United will be no different to anyone else. There is no reason this can’t be the year we get back up there."
Norwood, aged 27, progressed through Manchester United's youth system before arriving at the AMEX Stadium via Huddersfield Town and Reading. Much of his time with the former Premier League champions was spent on loan in the lower leagues with Scunthorpe, then managed by Wilder's assistant Alan Knill, among his destinations.
"This was an important move for me," Norwood said. "It was one of those things we spoke about, me and my agent. I had to be patient to get the right one. And I definitely feel I got the right one here.
"The dressing room is a great bunch, I can tell that already. The gaffer is the same. I have also worked with Knilly before and a big thing was that move up north. Hopefully, I can repay the faith the club has shown in me."
Asked to describe what qualities he will bring to United, Norwood replied: "I don’t want to sound big headed. I am not like that. I like to get on the ball, pass the ball and try not to complicate things too much.
Plus, provide some good delivery from set-pieces. Off the ball, I try my best to run all day and put the tackles in. A box to box midfielder and the way the gaffer wants to play will suit me."