Should they stay or go? Verdict on Norwich City’s promotion heroes
06:30 04 June 2015
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It’s fantasy football time again. That period when many football fans will be making mental wish-lists of those their team should sign and those they should ditch.
And, in my final column of the season, these are my 2014/15 player reviews and thoughts on whether they can make it in the Premier League. Have a great summer. OTBC.
It wasn’t a season where he reached previous heights, but he probably had less to do than against the Premier League big boys. We can be confident he can do a job in a higher division.
It continues to be a mystery as to whether Rudd is a capable understudy between the sticks at the top level, as we haven’t seen enough of him to determine.
City need a third keeper but will they attempt to sign real quality to push Ruddy on or someone to simply fill that third spot? The latter I’d imagine as the need is more pressing elsewhere.
Much better under Alex Neil and wonderful in the play-offs, but doubts remain as to his ability at the very highest level. Certainly a useful utility player to have.
I remain convinced he’s a better right-back than in the middle of the park and that’s where I’d be more than happy to see him in 2015/16. He has turned into a fantastic captain, so long may that continue.
A strange one in that I thought he was our best player before Neil sent him to Fulham. I suspect he might end up back there as his lack of pace gets exposed in the Prem.
Put simply, he cannot continue to be a potentially brilliant player who has bad luck in terms of injuries. Well worth another chance, but it will be a make-or-break season for him at Carrow Road.
The rock at the back during the second half of the season and the current defensive player I’m most confident about in terms of the ability to step up. We will, however, need to see better quality than his last season in the Premier League.
Ironically, given he was so close to a move to the Premier League in January, I still harbour doubts as to what his true level is – Prem or the Championship? Certainly good enough on his best days, but I’d like to see serious competition added in this area.
The young Spaniard remains a strange signing and I suspect a loan move may be on the cards.
It is defensively that Norwich will need the most work, especially given the departures of Carlos Cuellar and Javier Garrido have left them light in numbers. A back-up keeper, strong centre-back, hopefully with a bit of pace, and a left-back to put pressure on Olsson are key. The early-season fitness (or otherwise) of Ryan Bennett may even necessitate another signing. Hull’s Michael Dawson was mentioned to me and could be worth a look.
A superb end to the season and this was his best term for Norwich yet. A key player for 2015/16, fans just need to support him a bit more and not always get on his back.
One of a few players who have been superb in the Championship, but have something to prove in the Premier League. His steel on the left will be an asset, but lack of pace could cause City a problem.
Remains one of our best and most consistent performers and should be in his prime next season. A fit and firing Howson will be key.
In some ways it’s a shame we haven’t seen more of him, as his passing has been a joy to watch when he has played. Has done a good job but might crave the regular football Neil can’t provide.
My heart so wants Bennett to be a key player, as he seems to have a great attitude and is rightly adored by the fans. My head says he could come under the same category as O’Neil.
Clearly needed some games to get properly match fit again. Once that happened he more than convinced that he’ll be an asset next season.
Has clearly struggled and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him back at Hamilton soon.
So often the key player in the closing weeks of the season and has turned into a wonderful purchase for Norwich. I’ve no doubt at all he can make the step up.
He will probably have to prove his worth yet again and his success, or lack of, could be determined by Neil’s tactics. We remain lucky to have a player of his ilk and his guile will be needed, especially at Carrow Road.
Vadis Odjidja Ofoe
A pretty dismal debut season due to injury and one player surely no fan is able to make a fair assessment of.
Can be happy with his impact in the first half of 2014/15 and certainly worth having early on next term for cup games and as an impact sub.
Arguably the Canaries’ strongest area so major surgery unlikely to be needed. Some pace and power down the wings could help, while a player I’d like to see signed and groomed as a Wes replacement is Alex Pritchard, the Spurs midfielder who had success on loan at Brentford.
Solid season but one of fits and starts. Has lots to prove at the very top, but if Neil continues with one up front I fear he might not last.
An excellent signing, a player with potentially all the attributes needed at the very top level. I think he’ll start the season as the main striker.
So, so good when powering past and even through players. But was that because he found his level in the Championship? Play like he did this season and lots of defenders will struggle to cope with him.
Never really fitted in to either of the Neils’ style of play. Would be a big surprise to see him start the season still at the club.
Ricky Van Wolfswinkel
Those who seem to think he might have a career at Carrow Road are deluded. Can’t see how he’ll ever fit in with Neil’s preferred ways.
If you include Dorrans I’m expecting six or seven signings from Neil and one will need to be a striker. Evidence suggests we need someone in the mould of Charlie Austin, though he may be out of reach. Whisper it, but there’s a player down the road called Daryl Murphy who may fit the bill...