Wed | Nov 29, 2023

Campbell’s maturity making the difference

Published:Saturday | May 20, 2023 | 12:51 AMLivingston Scott/Gleaner Writer
In this 2017 file photo Jamaica College’s Norman Campbell (left) dribbles away from  Bridgeport High’s Tyrese Wynter during a Manning Cup match at the Stadium East field.
In this 2017 file photo Jamaica College’s Norman Campbell (left) dribbles away from Bridgeport High’s Tyrese Wynter during a Manning Cup match at the Stadium East field.

Like most local-bred players, Norman Campbell struggled to settle into his new environment after leaving Harbour View for FK Graficar Beograd in the Serbian Super League in 2020. The former Jamaica College star later transferred to FC Cukaricki in...

Like most local-bred players, Norman Campbell struggled to settle into his new environment after leaving Harbour View for FK Graficar Beograd in the Serbian Super League in 2020.

The former Jamaica College star later transferred to FC Cukaricki in 2021, in the same league, where he had a fair season.

However, last season the 22-year-old moved to Javor-Mattis, also in the Serbian league, and his performances have improved tremendously.

Campbell has so far netted seven goals and has provided four assists to help lift his team out of their relegation struggles.

He told The Gleaner that it was difficult to make the adjustment at first but after two seasons, he has started to understand and appreciate the demands of making it as a pro.

“My first (two) years in Europe were inconsistent,” said Campbell who had three goals and two assists with Graficar in his first season.

“It was very difficult for so many reasons,” he continued. “You feel isolated and homesick. Communication is difficult because of the language and the weather can be tough to get used to.

“On the field, the tempo is extremely fast. You have to make a lot of sprints and you have to be able to win your individual duels. You really have to work hard and dedicate yourself to improving because it is really demanding. You can’t rely on just your talent alone,” he reasoned.

However, he pointed out that he is far more mature now and knows what it takes and what he must do.

“The main difference this season is maturity and growth. The first two seasons I didn’t fully understand everything. Now in my third season I have grown and I have a better understanding. I am working hard and dedicating myself and now seeing positive results,” he said.

Although the team has performed below expectations this term, Campbell is satisfied with his work and sees himself on a path of continuous growth and development.

BEING REWARDED

“It’s really satisfying, I feel like my work is paying off and it’s being acknowledged and recognised and I’m being rewarded for the good work.

“I will continue to get better. I understand what it takes and I am prepared to do the necessary things. I know I must have the right mentality and a professional attitude,” he said.

The player is hoping to see out the season in the same vein, and hopes his performances in the future will catch the eyes of national coach Heimir Hallgrimsson.

“My dream is to always be a part of my national team. It would be amazing to get called up for the Gold Cup this summer.

“I have been performing well, so it’s up to the national team coach to decide if my performances in Serbia’s top league are good enough to be called up,” he stated.

Campbell’s agent Kevin Cowan said it continues to be a real challenge for Jamaican players in Europe and that the player deserves a lot of credit for his resilience after a very difficult initiation.

“He’s shown a lot of resilience and turned things around. He still has a lot of work to do, but he deserves a lot of credit for fixing the things that were not right and now you can see the positive results,” said Cowan who revealed Campbell is on a lot of clubs’ radars and could move again in the off-season.

livingston.scott@gleanerjm.com