Joining Forest Green Rovers at the age of 21, Norwood was craving regular football, which he certainly got. He does feel, however, that they were tougher times as a young player.
“I probably stayed too long at Forest Green and I had a couple of league offers after a couple of seasons, but I had doubts playing on my mind, so it didn’t seem right.
“With the under-23s setups that clubs have now, teams are taking more chances on young kids, but no one was doing that then.
“Because of the Jamie Vardy’s, Andre Gray’s and the Sam Clucas’ that have come through now, teams will see a National League player score four or five goals and think they can unearth something. Back then though you could be a player scoring 30 odd goals but wouldn’t get a sniff.
“If you’re a player of that age now, 20 or 21 years-old, scoring 20-25 goals, you’ll have most of the Championship after you.”
As much as he felt he didn’t let it get the better of him, Norwood was still a player that had been let go a couple of times by professional clubs and he was only human for that to be playing on his mind. A bit of a turning point came for him, however, when he was called up to play for the England C team.
“There was that lingering thought of being let go and going back to square one if I went to another league club, so I just wanted to forget all that and concentrate on trying to be the best player at Forest Green.
“When I was 22, I got called up for England C which was great because the manager, Paul Fairclough, played me as a centre-forward which I wasn’t getting at Forest Green. Paul was actually really good for me, he let people express themselves and play where they wanted to play.
“It was beautiful for me that, because I enjoyed being skilful and despite us all wanting to win and he wanted to win, it wasn’t really a results-based experience it was about building you up as a player.
“In the 21 players that went to Bermuda, 18 of them I think went on to play professionally so it was a great squad we had which included Andre Gray and Sam Clucas.”
Norwood made over 150 appearances for Forest Green, scoring more than 50 goals, but playing as a striker was built in him from a young age and that thought of playing through the middle couldn’t escape him. Next up, Tranmere Rovers.
“The thing for me was, I’d been a centre-forward from the age of 7 to 21 then Forest Green played me as a winger. To be fair, I was quick and could run a lot, had a pretty good delivery and still backed myself to score goals from there. But I still missed four years of being a centre-forward.
“The first thing at Tranmere that the then manager [Gary Brabin] said to me was ‘I want you to play up front every single game for me’. At that point I’m sold straight away.
“I had Burton Albion after me at the time in the Championship and a couple of League One clubs but I liked the faith Tranmere were showing in me, so I had to go there.
“It meant everything to me, it was all I wanted. Even if he said I might not play every game I’d have made sure I did play every game and essentially prove to Forest Green they were wrong not to play me up-front!”