New Canary loan star Henri Lansbury has been given the seal of approval by a young man who made exactly the same move some three winters ago…
Kieran Gibbs made seven appearances as a still-raw 18-year-old for the Canaries after being whipped off Arsene Wenger’s hands by then City boss Glenn Roeder.
That he had talent was never in question; for many, he was Arsenal’s best player in this weekend’s 2-0 win over Wigan Athletic.
And having now made his full England debut earlier this season against Hungary, a glittering future would appear to await the one-time Canary loan star – provided he beat those all-too regular injury blues and oust Gael Clichy from Wenger’s thinking on a more regular basis.
He is, it would appear, also a big pal of 20-year-old Lansbury, who took to Carrow Road like the proverbial duck to water in the 4-1 derby demolition of Ipswich Town last Sunday.
Lansbury enjoys two years extra maturity physically on Gibbs when he made the short-term switch up the A11. It could make a mighty difference in the muscular confines of the Championship.
Gibbs was, for many, still just a mite too slight at the time of his move.
Lansbury could be just the ticket. As Gibbs himself is willing to find out by popping back up to Norfolk to watch his pal go to work for his new employers.
“He came up to see me a few times when I was up there in Norwich and I will try and so see him myself,” the Gunners star told the official Arsenal club programme this weekend.
“It’s funny to see him going there, staying at the same hotel and ordering dinner for one!”
Lansbury wasn’t short of friendly faces on his arrival last week.
England Under-21 star Korey Smith was an old school pal; it all should help to make Lansbury’s switch a big success as Norwich prepare for this weekend’s trip to Derby County.
Gibbs certainly expects Lansbury to make the grade at The Emirates once his term away at Paul Lambert’s finishing school is over.
“He’ll be doing the same things as I did and I hope it goes well – I really
think he can make it here at Arsenal, he’s a great player and did really well at Watford last season,” said Gibbs.
He has clearly grown in both stature and belief since his own spell in Norfolk. It probably came all a little too soon for the Lambeth-born teenager; he never quite did what was expected of him.
Some three years on and he has the footballing world at his feet; provided he can enjoy an injury-free run.
“I’m 21 now. I don’t consider myself young any more,” he said. “I want to try to do as much as I can in as short a space as possible because your career isn’t that long,” he added.
“But to think three years ago I was playing in the Youth Cup for Arsenal and now I’ve played for my country shows that things move quickly – you just have to make the most of every moment.”
Which is likely to be the Lansbury mantra as he repeats Gibbs’ short-term switch. He certainly made the most of his derby debut – the ball for Grant Holt’s crucial second strike will long linger in the memory.
It was all you would have expected from a young man schooled in Arsenal’s ways.
Speaking straight after last Sunday’s famed events, Lansbury was taking events wholly in his stride.
“The lads had been building up to it all week, so to come straight into it was great for me,” said the England Under-21 star, as he slotted straight into that right midfield role.
Where you strongly suspect he will be again come three o’clock Saturday.
“The fact that it was such a big game, a derby didn’t really play on my mind; I just went out there and did my thing.
“The boys have seen me in training; I like the ball coming to my feet and that’s how I cause a threat.”
The fact that it was his first game for the Canaries; his first taste of playing in a Canary yellow shirt ensured that Lansbury could be found promising more to come – as and when he really finds his feet in Norfolk.
“There’s definitely more to come,” he vowed.
“Obviously I haven’t played for a while, so it was good to get 80 minutes under my belt and it’s just a case of pushing on from here.
“But its always good to get an assist with a ball like that; to see Holty’s run and he finished it off really well.
“That’s all I really do; to play the through balls and try and break defences and, obviously, it’s paid off for me today.”