Old pals line up between the sticks

By Rick Lamb
Last updated : 21 October 2005
When Andy Marshall left Carrow Road in 2001, he was the latest in a long line of up and coming stars to leave the club. Unlike previous departures, who included Chris Sutton and Ruel Fox among numerous others, the manner and destination of the young goalkeeper's exit did little to ingratiate himself to those who once saw him as a hero.

Shortly after being named as the Norwich City supporters' player of the year, the ex-England under-21 player exercised his right to a free transfer, and made the short switch to Portman Road. It was a brave decision to join City's closest and most despised rivals, although it represented a step up to the Premiership, and one which has left Marshall vilified in Norfolk.

Marshall had a hot reception on his only return to Carrow Road and is unlikely to have been forgiven when he comes back today behind another team in blue, his current club Millwall. The man at the opposite end of the field was his young deputy at Colney, but is now considered one of the finest goalkeeping talent in the country.

Robert Green stepped into Marshall's boots and was to play a pivotal role in the club's revival, culminating in a return to the Premiership in 2004. It was Marshall who had been hurried to the fore when Bryan Gunn sustained an ankle injury in the relegation season a decade earlier, and who went on to play over 200 times for the Canaries.

Green, however, has so far been everything Marshall might have been but never was, although he was also unable to prevent the club's demotion. Perhaps mindful of the career paths of his former colleague and even ex-Ipswich man Richard Wright, Green resisted the temptation to move on for the sake of furthering his career.

The 25-year-old is now an established part of the England set up under Sven Goran Eriksson and, depsite plying his trade in the second tier of English football, looks set to be named in the national squad for the 2006 World Cup in Germany. Injury to any of Paul Robinson, Chris Kirkland or David James would secure the Norwich number one's place in the 23-man party, which is likely in any event given his continued presence since his debut as a second half substitute against Colombia. The Daily Telegraph's Alan Smith, formerly of Arsenal, yesterday named Green as an "intelligent, easy-going and supportive" member of the squad and "a good man to have around over the course of several weeks" in Germany.

Marshall, on the other hand, failed to build on his early promise and stagnated at Portman Road before he moved on loan to Wolves. He finally secured a permanent move to the New Den in March 2004 after a loan spell.

Millwall are currently on a run of six matches without defeat, but still languish near the foot of the table after a disastrous start which saw them part company with manager Steve Claridge before he had taken charge of a game. Marshall was publicly critical of Claridge's preparations, later apologising, and did himself and his side no favours with a first half dismissal against Reading which, with no reserve on the bench, led to a 5-0 mauling for the lions.

Marshall will no doubt be keen to extend Millwall's recent good run, and to remind the home fans why they were once so devastated to see him leave. Green, on the other hand, will be keen to demonstrate how far he has come since being entrusted with Marshall's job, and will hope to drive City further up the table with a third successive win.

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