Two of Stuart Pearce’s finest will go head-to-head at Turf Moor tomorrow – before both young men bury the club hatchet and board the plane for Italy with Three Lions on their chest.
But while new City hero Henri Lansbury has always been ear-marked for international stardom since being plucked out of Norwich’s youth ranks as a teenager by Arsenal, Burnley striker Jay Rodriguez has been brought up the hard way.
He cut his footballing teeth with Barrowford Celtic.
‘Who?’ is likely to be the honest answer; everyone, by contrast, has heard of Arsene Wenger’s famed production line of whom the on-loan Lansbury is merely the latest star-in-waiting.
“It was a bit of a shock, but it’s all good,” the young Clarets star told the Lancashire Evening Telegraph ahead of tomorrow’s meeting – and then the flight to Empoli 24-hours later for the mid-week clash against their Italian counterparts.
“I’ll be with great players and great staff, so it will be a good all-round experience,” said the youngster, likely to be one of the bigger thorns in Norwich’s side as Burnley look to right the wrongs of November’s 2-2 draw at Carrow Road.
A broken ankle last season hindered the 21-year-old’s progress; this season, however, and ‘Jay-Rod’ has caught many an eye – not least that of England Under-21 chief Pearce.
Rodriguez was on duty in the first fixture between the two nPower Championship rivals. Once again, the visitors stole into an early lead – indeed a 2-0 lead – only for the Canaries’ never-say-die attitude to ride to their rescue just as it did in Tuesday night’s 2-1 win over Millwall in which Master Lansbury grabbed the winner with all-but the very last kick of the game.
By contrast, Burnley were suffering their first defeat under new boss Eddie Howe at Doncaster in mid-week.
His No2 Jason Tindall was predicting an entertaining game as the Canary faithful prepare for one of the longer hauls of the season – just as the storms return to northern England.
“They’re a big side and a very good side. They’re in the position they are because they deserve to be,” said Howe’s right-hand man.
“Their form suggests that, they’ve got a good away record and they’re going to come here full of confidence. It’s going to be a very tough game.”
For veteran City full-back Adam Drury – missing for the midweek clash against Millwall with a thigh strain – this season is now all about results.
Performances have gone out of the window, he told BBC Radio Norfolk this morning.
“You want to play well, but at this stage in the season we want to win – that’s all that matters,” he said.
Drury has been round the Championship promotion block twice before with City – albeit the first time in the shape of the Play-Off Final heart-breaker of 2002.
Come 2004 and he was, famously, lifting that famed old Football League trophy on the balcony of City Hall.
Whether Norwich will repeat that feat and head back into the Premiership as Champions is still the stuff of fairy tales; but few doubt that Canary chief Paul Lambert is the stuff of dreams managerially.
Drury’s feet are planted firmly on the floor; he’ll leave others to have their heads in the clouds.
“That feel good factor is obviously back and we’ll just have to see where that takes us,” said Drury, fresh from signing yet another Canary contract.
“But we’re not going to get carried away; we all know how quickly it can turn round. We’ve just got to keep on doing what we’re doing and then see what happens.”
A sentence that could have been penned by the manager himself.
Whether Drury walks back into the side after that mid-week thigh strain coupled with a short bout of illness is, of course, another matter.
Lambert now has Marc Tierney at his disposal – designed to keep the likes of Drury firmly on his toes.
“Marc’s a great player and a good lad, as well,” admitted the one-time Canary skipper. “And, obviously, anyone who the Gaffer brings in means competition for places and we’ve got two or three players for every position now and I think that adds to the reasons why we’re doing so well right now.
“If you drop off your game at all then you will find yourself out of the side.”