For a player who, but for a freak injury, would have in every likelihood stolen Jamie Cureton's 'Golden Boot' crown last season, it seems a little odd to suggest that his professional career lies at a crossroads.
But after baling out of Norfolk this summer with his 'Get Out!' clause firmly in his hand, Robert Earnshaw's return to the Premiership hasn't exactly been plain sailing. Is the grass actually any greener away from Carrow Road?
And on the eve of Wales' Euro2008 qualifier against Germany in Cardiff tomorrow, so the 26-year-old has found himself in the unusual position of having to defend himself at both club and country level.
For last month Wales boss John Toshack got in on the act – suggesting the former City star had “under-achieved” at international level for a couple of years. Cue Freddy Eastwood's arrival in his stead; just as Kenny Miller's deadline day switch to Pride Park from Celtic has clouded Earnshaw's future at Derby.
Ex-Hull star Craig Fagan has already found himself partnering Steve Howard. And even the fact that he's now been handed a four-match ban for a sly stamp in the 6-0 thrashing by Liverpool simply means that new-boy Miller has an easy ride straight into Billy Davies' thinking.
With the Rams chief having previously been linked to David Nugent at Portsmouth, it was little surprise to find the rumour-mongers working over-time as Earnshaw's name was once again linked to a switch to Charlton Athletic.
Where Luke Varney – once, of course, top of Norwich's summer shopping list – has yet to make his mark.
Indeed, the words 'total' and 'nightmare' spring to mind given the one-time Crewe striker injured his ankle in the opening game of pre-season against Welling United and only completed his first, full 90 minutes in a Charlton shirt this week – and that in practice match against neighbours Palace.
On a reported ?17,000 a week, that would be, oooh, ?140,000-odd gone without a Championship kick in anger.
“I have been a little surprised to find myself being linked with a move away from Derby already. I found myself being asked by people when I was going and I knew nothing about it,” said Earnshaw, as he spoke to the icwales website in the run-up to tomorrow's Germany clash.
“Even my sister asked me whether I'd left, but I'm not going anywhere. There is no question of that, I've only just moved there,” he added, unmoved by the queue seemingly forming up in front of him.
And despite a fabulous overhead in pre-season, he has yet to score for his new employers.
“The boss (Billy Davies) was looking for more strikers even when he bought me, so I was very aware of that. He has now signed Kenny Miller, but I was expecting something like that.
“That is what he wanted, and we all understand that. He has his squad now and I have no problem with that. I'm looking forward to it all.”
If Davies threw one gauntlet at his feet in the shape of Miller's arrival, Toshack has Eastwood. Craig Bellamy is, of course, a given.
Toshack's remarks last month were certainly of the little dig variety.
“Whether it's the moves he's had that unsettled him I don't know,” said the Wales chief, in the run-up to the friendly win over Bulgaria in which Eastwood took a starring role.
“He (Earnshaw) always seems bubbly enough, but in the matches we've played we need to get more from him. Maybe the time has come when he's realised he doesn't have the potential people thought he did when he was a younger player,” added Toshack, again speaking to icwales.co.uk.
“He looked livelier at international level two or three years ago than he has done recently if we're being honest.
“We hope things will improve, he had a bad injury last season, that might have held him up. But he's no newcomer to the squad and we'll be looking for him to step up a bit.”
All of which appears a little rough on Earnshaw – his final Canary record of 27 goals from just 47 appearances stacks up against the best of them.
Curiously, however, it was still not enough to push him into the top three of City's 'Player of the Season' poll. There was always a slight sense that Earnie and his famous Hummer were just passing through.
But given that lengthy absence he endured last season after sustaining that Robert Green-like groin tear in the run-up to the Tamworth United FA Cup clash and there is no doubt that Earnshaw was in the kind of goal-scoring groove that would have taken him nearer to the 25-goal mark, Norwich – in theory – to far nearer the play-off places.
As an individual goal-scorer, he's top drawer. But, maybe, therein lies his downfall – the fact that he is an individual. In a team game perhaps Davies – like West Bromwich Albion boss Bryan Robson before him – is coming to the conclusion that you can't defend with ten men in the Premiership.
Earnshaw's faith in his own ability appears unmoved – be it at club level against Miller or on the international stage against Eastwood, he's ready.
“I relish the challenge from Freddy,” Earnshaw told www.icwales.co.uk.
“He has come into the squad and is quality. But for me I see football as fun, I don't think about competition. And I am looking forward to the next 10 years, I hope I'm still playing for Wales then. I then want to look back and say I enjoyed it all – that's how I see things.”
And nor was he about to rise to Toshack's bait. “I have heard the boss make some comments about me, and I try not to react. I have not started that many games for Wales in the last year or so and I want to play more.
“I want to be on the pitch and play, the more I play the more chance I have of doing well and scoring. I try not to be affected by what other people say,” he added.
“I don't try to prove things to people, I have just one goal each time I go on the pitch and that is to play well, score and have fun.”