PL: Torres is still terrific

PL: Torres is still terrific

Published Jan. 20, 2012 1:15 p.m. ET

And Lambert believes the Spaniard's poor form has nothing to do with the £50million price tag around his neck.

Lambert's side take on Chelsea on Saturday at Carrow Road with Norwich's on-form striker Grant Holt, bought for £400,000, having scored eight Premier League goals this season and Torres having scored two.

It is a stark comparison, but Lambert insists Torres is not daunted by his transfer fee.

Lambert, who was hoping to complete the signing of Leeds midfielder Jonny Howson later on Friday, said: "Would I like to have Torres? Yeah, course I would. I wouldn't bother about his price tag.


"I know the lad's not scored for a while but he is still a top player, a brilliant footballer, a terrific striker. I don't think it's anything to do with a price tag hanging over his head.

"As long as they have got the hunger to go out and do it, it shouldn't matter how much they cost. Football is about lifting trophies. You want to win things.

"But if you are talking value for money Grant has been phenomenal for this club for £400,000. People look at £400,000 and think it's nothing, but to some clubs it's a hell of a lot of money."

No-one could ever accuse Holt, a former tyre fitter, of lacking hunger. The 30-year-old made his debut for Norwich in a 7-1 defeat against Colchester United in League One at Carrow Road two-and-a-half years ago.

He is now one of the main reasons why Norwich have confounded the experts and lie ninth in the Premier League, nine points above the relegation zone.

For Holt, tomorrow brings another challenge when he is likely to come up against England central defenders, John Terry and new signing Gary Cahill.

It is unlikely to faze Holt, the epitome of the pragmatic attitude Lambert has instilled in his team.

"You want to test yourself against the best," said Holt. "It will be a good battle."

Holt is reluctant to be drawn into comparisons with Torres and, as a man who makes his living from scoring goals, he has a natural affinity with the misfiring Chelsea striker.

Holt, who has played for 10 clubs, said: "He's under a lot of pressure. He's gone for a big price tag and it's not nice when you're not scoring goals.

"Last week he hit an unbelievable volley which goes off the underside of the bar. He needs a cross to miss everyone, hit him on the back and go in the bottom corner. If he gets that it would be as big an achievement as if he hit one from 40 yards.

"You are only worth what someone wants to pay for you. If someone pays £50m for him that's what he's worth. If someone pays £400,000 for me that's what I'm worth.

"It was a big investment in League One and I hope everybody who paid it thinks it has been value for money.

"I'm lucky I'm in a squad with players who can put it on a plate for you. It doesn't matter what division, if there are good players around I'll score goals. But if he (Torres) wants to at the weekend he can bring his World Cup winner's medal and give me that, I'll have that."

Holt mirrors the confidence Lambert has engendered in a squad which has striker James Vaughan and defender Elliott Ward back in training and within a week or so of returning after long injury lay-offs.

A cautious Lambert, however, is reticent to talk about how many points Norwich need to ensure Premier League football next season but four wins would see them hit 40 points, the usual benchmark for survival.

Lambert does not see them imploding like Blackpool last season.

He said: "Everybody thought we would be in the bottom three. What's happened has been great, but there is still a long way to go. I think we get more respect from teams now. The lads have got a lot of belief that they can win games and I trust them to do the job.

"Norwich ain't Blackpool. It could happen to us but you can't keep comparing Norwich to Blackpool."