Callum Wilson’s decision to make Dean Court rather than Carrow Road home for the foreseeable was, in truth, a sensible and laudable one.
By heading south rather than east the ex-Coventry man has assured himself plenty of game time, ironically as the replacement for new City recruit Lewis Grabban. That some of our number chose to interpret his decision as a slight on Neil Adams merely indicates on which side of the Carrow Road fence they sit.
Instead, most telling about Adams’ unsuccessful pursuit of Wilson is that he sees the need to further strengthen his striking department. The purchases of Grabban and Kyle Lafferty suggested his work in this area may have been done, but clearly not.
But while, in conversation with the EDP, the City boss insisted it doesn’t necessarily mean existing strikers have to depart to make way for the new signings, it’s inconceivable that Messrs van Wolfswinkel, Hooper and Becchio will all be happy to sit tight and wait patiently for their opportunity.
Something has to give and my suspicion, for what it’s worth, is that Hooper will be the first to blink. We’ll see.
In the same interview Adams also confessed that he perceives the midfield as the ‘strongest area at present’; the inference being his attention has already turned to strengthening the defence.
Russell Martin’s ‘promotion’ to number 5 would suggest that Adams sees his Canary future as a central defender rather than a right-back, but having been bleating to anyone who will listen (thanks again Mum) that shirt numbers are fairly meaningless I should perhaps heed my own words.
So, on that basis, I’ll also ignore the fact that while we currently have two left-backs in the squad, neither Javier Garrido or Martin Olsson have been offered shirt number 3.
But, on the subject of Olsson, news that West Ham’s pursuit of him is ‘dead in the water‘ following their signing of Ipswich Town’s Aaron Cresswell can only be a good thing. While it seems likely the Swede is on the radar of others, this small win for City has hopefully set the tone for the coming weeks and months.
City are clearly not in a position of having to sell, and if those in the sights of some Premier League teams – like Olsson – show the stomach for a forthcoming Championship battle, then the message it sends out to the rest of Adams’ squad is a positive one. And if it means putting one over Suffolk’s finest in the process…
Interestingly, if we assume for a moment that Martin’s future is in the centre of defence, it leaves only Steven Whittaker as a bona fide right-back. Given the struggles of both last season in holding down that particulate berth, if I were a betting man I’d wager that a new right-back may well be fairly high up on the shopping list.
If Adams were to unearth one that could do on the right what Olsson did successfully on the left last season that would certainly add some zip and power down that side. Something we seldom witnessed in the Snodgrass years.
In the centre of defence one wonders if now is Ryan Bennett’s time. Since arriving in January 2012 the ex-Peterborough man has had a stop-start time in the Fine City, but when called upon has always played with a confidence and surety that promised much. That he has so far failed to deliver on a regular basis has not been helped by the occasional lapse and an all-too-lengthy list of central defensive partners.
Given an arm around his shoulder and a prolonged run in the team I’d still be confident that Bennett can become everything that Paul Lambert had promised. If we assume Sebastien Bassong’s time remaining in this parish to be of limited duration, Bennett’s challenge will be to prise himself in between Martin and Michael Turner for a starting berth.
The goalkeeping department has also seen changes this week, with coach Dave Watson opting to spare himself the embarrassment of having to face John Ruddy by instead joining the Ronald Koeman revolution at Southampton.
While, in goalkeeping circles, Watson is clearly highly-rated – his presence in Roy Hodgson’s England’s set-up confirming as much – I’m not sure this one is the hammer blow that some have perceived. His close work with Ruddy on a daily basis clearly held little clout when it came to naming the boys for Brazil; Hodgson opting for the highly selective Ben Foster (one assumes he’ll be announcing his England retirement any day soon?)
Let’s not lose sleep over this one. There are plenty of top quality goalkeeping coaches out there. Hell, Adams may have even stumbled upon one at St George’s Park this week.
And finally, and while on the subject of St George’s Park, I was delighted to see a smiling Andrew Surman in the throng of City players being put through their paces at England’s new home of football.
One can only hope it’s a positive sign and that his return to the City fold is to be a permanent and prolonged one. I’d love to see him doing ‘a Pirlo’ in the centre of the Norwich midfield.
Have I mentioned that before?
Thank goodness common sense has finally prevailed and the East Anglian derby has been returned to its original date of Saturday August 23. Just a tiny bit of consultation and a smidgen of common sense would have negated the need for Suffolk Constabulary’s embarrassing u-turn.
But – and here’s one – how about doing nothing at all, and leave it as a 3pm kick-off? Too radical?
Andrew hall says
Andrew Surmen you’ve got to be joking.
Is it just my suspicious mind, or do some players feature more regularly than others (the latter group being linked to moves away) in the photo gallery from SGP? OTBC.
Bob in Diss says
Gary – you have preached the sermon on Surman before but whether he can match the facial growth, let alone the the passing and vision of maestro Pirlo is very debatable.
Looking forward to seeing some double-Bennett action next season with Ryan directing things from the back and Elliott flying up and down the wing filling Snoddy’s boots in that role.
Even with any defectors in the next few weeks, it looks a strong squad for the second tier – just hope Adams can instill the kind of ethos and passion shown by the Costa Ricans in Brazil.
Just two points for you, 1, during your look at our defence I notice the name Bassong didn’t get a mention, I’m assuming you, like me think he’ll be gone sooner rather than later. 2, We do have a man who could run down the right from right back, Whittiker used to do it back in the day when we played attacking football, not as good as Olsson but he can do it.
Surman did a good job behind the striker(s)at Bournemouth last year and is an option there this year. He has good vision and the ability to play through balls as well. As for squad numbers, there’s some evidence that Olsson actually prefers 23, but I think if Olsson stays Garrido might be off. It’s interesting to note that ManUtd have no number 9 and RvP wears number 20.
Gary Gowers says
‘Bob'(3) – I accept my voice is pretty much a lone one with regard the ‘Surman sermon’ but just have a probably flawed inkling that given the opportunity he could do a job as the ‘playmaker’. The Pirlo comparison was tongue in cheek – and no-one can compare with the great man with regard passing and facial fuzz!
Stewart Lewis says
Gary: you’re not a lone voice re Surman. Anyone who’s listened to Bournemouth fans or watched their performances last season will be aware that he’s fulfilling his potential as a playmaker.
Fans sometimes read too much into squad numbers, but surely our new ones are designed to send a message – not least to the players involved. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think RvW wanted to relinquish no 9 or Bassong no 5. I’d take it to mean: ‘Prove me wrong – and quickly – if you want to’.
Always been a Ryan Bennett fan. Barring injury, surely our first choice centre-back combination should be R Bennett + Turner. Russ can play there, but a permanent shift may have to wait. I can see another defender arriving to keep all of them on their toes.
Michael Chipmunk says
I really need to stop reading your articles Gary. They make me angry. I’m not an angry person.
Gary Gowers says
Michael (8) – Really sorry if I make you angry! Care to elaborate? Tis just my opinion… nothing more.
Bob in Diss says
Michael(8) – I had to re-read to see what could possibly have had such an effect. Maybe it was just the mention of Ben Foster getting a seat on the plane to Brazil ahead of our man?
If you’re that easily provoked, I’m amazed you’re still in one piece after last season’s events.
Gordon in Oz says
I cannot argue much with you Gary. I too am not a Snodgrass fan despite his obvious abilities. Lambert energised a slghtly above average squad into two promotions. The squad Adams has right now is better. Keeping Olssen would be a huge plus. It will be interesting to see how Loza competes with the others for a striker spot and I am surprised, after the way he was treated, that Becchio is still there.
I do agree though…a new right back and one more central defender would be great.
Russell Martin has many outstanding qualities but if he is to play CB this season I hope he works hard on his heading ability and command of the penalty area.With improvement in this aspect of his game we would have a good CB pairing with Ryan Bennett. Don’t forget Gafaiti is likely to be in the frame also-unless he converts to right back.
Andy M says
Depends on Adams’ formation to consider Surman. I’d like to see him in a 433 with Howson and Fer (fingers crossed). The 3 up top could be permed from quite a few….I still hope RVW comes good next season, I don’t expect it will be here though.