New City boss Glenn Roeder tonight took a very large leaf out of Roy Keane's book and had an almighty swipe at the nature of the modern professional player.
Or rather the modern professional loan player who – with the honourable exception of man of the match Martin Taylor – appears more than happy to sit on his butt and play reserve team football rather than going out and earning a more honest living by actually playing first team football elsewhere.
“We're now living in a world that's completely changed,” said Roeder, quizzed as to whether he hoped to bring in another loan player ahead of Saturday's trip to Plymouth.
Fresh from watching his new charges slip to a 3-1 home defeat by league leaders Watford, three more 'Tiny' Taylors would fit the bill to a 'T' if the bottom-of-the-table Canaries ever wanted to physically compete in this division.
The problem, however, was finding more of Taylor's ilk – players who actually wanted to earn a living here, rather than steal one elsewhere by playing reserve team football.
“It's a world where quite a few players – and obviously Martin Taylor's not one – are quite happy to pick up their wages and play in the reserves.
“They don't see any benefit in playing first team football – and that's sad.”
Roeder insisted it was not Norwich's geography and, indeed, the club's league position that was making his task doubly difficult, it was the nature of the modern player beast – the stay-at-home, under-the-wife's-thumb animal that Keane memorably railed against earlier this season.
“It's not that they don't want to come to Norwich City because these players have turned down other teams in the Championship. But, no, they'd rather stay and play reserve team football.
“Because most times, they're going to have to travel; they're going to have to live in a hotel for a month….
“And I can see now where Roy Keane was coming from the other month – that they're all becoming soft; they're all controlled by their wives; because their kids have to be picked up from school.
“Because at the end of the month they know their salary will be exactly the same by playing for the reserves as it will be by playing first team football,” said Roeder, clearly exasperated by certain responses he's had over the last week as he looks to plug the gaping gaps in City's Championship armoury.
Managers agreeing to let their players out was not the problem; he has, he says, already had a number of fellow managers offer him “one or two” players that would fit the bill; give City the extra physical steel and presence that they need to wrest themselves off the bottom. Managers aren't the problem, players are.
“At the time I didn't take much notice of what Roy said,” said Roeder, 'between jobs' at the time of Keane's anti-WAG explosion.
Back on the managerial front-line, with Norwich City's survival as a Championship club sat squarely in his hands and certain players he's approached over the last seven days clearly couldn't give a monkey's – not just for Norwich's predicament, but even over simply playing first team football on a Saturday.
“Now I'm in this position, it's all coming flooding back what Keane said. And he's right. It's hard to find players who want to play football,” said Roeder.
“I want to earn my salary. I've trained all week and there's a game for me at the end of the week and I feel that I have earned my money… But it's just a way of life now.
“And it's sad. We've made some of these players so wealthy that they haven't got the motivation that you want.”
In fairness to the Canaries, the spirits were again reasonably willing and for the first half hour or so, they kept themselves in the contest. But once Darius Henderson had rolled Watford's opener home and a David Marshall own goal had added the second following a free header from Adrian Mariappa, so you could see the gulf between top and bottom of this division.
Adie Boothroyd has spent the last three seasons perfecting a nigh-on perfect Championship-winning football team – one that will be swiftly returned to sender once they return to the top flight next season.
But at this level, any team with Danny Shittu at one end and Marlon King at the other are a handful. Bolt on pace, power and organisation either side and in between and the Hornets emerge as a class apart – they finished the night eight points clear at the top of the table.
It helps, of course, if people pick up at corners. Do the basics. Cue another pointed remark or two from Roeder who, true to his word, refused to name names in public.
“Two of the three goals were give-aways,” said the City chief, after King's 87th minute strike wiped out any hope of lightning striking twice following Lee Croft's first goal of the season.
It briefly had Watford wobblig as memories of their shock 3-0 home reverse by West Bromwich Albion on Saturday came flooding back. But Norwich never really got beyond the Watford back four in the way that they did against Ipswich.
Keeper Richard Lee never really had a save to make. He was, said Roeder, “hoping” for an equaliser rather than “expecting” one as he was on Sunday.
The real damage was the two goals before the break; the manner of the second, albeit off the back off a luckless Marshall's calf, was criminal.
“I hate conceding any goal, but I can just about live with their first,” said Roeder.
“The second is woeful – absolutely woeful. Unacceptable. We cannot concede goals from set-plays. They're cheap. They're give-away goals,” said the new Canary boss, learning rather more about Norwich's powers of concentration. Or lack of them.
“The frustrating thing is that you're constantly reminding players before the game of what their responsibilities are – in terms of who they are picking up.
“We've watched Watford three times; their team hasn't changed too much; they're not changing their movement at set-plays; it was the same as what we've seen.
“The markers in the box are given a player to pick up – and the lad has a totally free header. And our player who should have been marking him isn't in sight.
“And that is not acceptable.”
Welcome to Norwich, Glenn.
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