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Should they stay or go? Verdict on Norwich City’s promotion heroes

06:30 04 June 2015

Will defender Michael Turner be surplus to requirements at Norwich City next season? Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Will defender Michael Turner be surplus to requirements at Norwich City next season? Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

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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.

GOALKEEPERS

John Ruddy

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.

Declan Rudd

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.

INCOMING?

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.

 

DEFENCE

Steven Whittaker

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.

Russell Martin

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.

Michael Turner

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.

Ryan Bennett

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.

Sebastien Bassong

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.

Martin Olsson

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.

Ignasi Miquel

The young Spaniard remains a strange signing and I suspect a loan move may be on the cards.

INCOMING?

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.

 

MIDFIELD

Nathan Redmond

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.

Bradley Johnson

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.

Jonny Howson

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.

Gary O’Neil

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.

Elliott Bennett

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.

Graham Dorrans

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.

Tony Andreu

Has clearly struggled and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him back at Hamilton soon.

Alex Tettey

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.

Wes Hoolahan

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.

Josh Murphy

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.

INCOMING?

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.

 

STRIKERS

Gary Hooper

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.

Lewis Grabban

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.

Cameron Jerome

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.

Kyle Lafferty

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.

INCOMING?

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...

37 comments

  • A lot of these articles are spoke from the heart and ability ignored. R. Martin, although a nice guy, is far from premier league level in any position. Got found out even this year too often. Tettey had a fairly awful season. He played well in the play offs which over shadowed his season performance. I am not convinced with any of Neils signings so far. As for Grabban, he is number 3 striker in my pecking order. His goals were fortunate ones and he missed some vital chances. Hooper just hasn't been given the proper chance and failed to break the team since scoring a hat trick!!! I think we need to concentrate on a solid defence and maybe a winger. I wonder what the comments on players would be had we not been promoted?

    Report this comment

    AC Canary

    Wednesday, June 10, 2015

  • Huth has signed for Leicester for £3m- when he joined Leics they were well adrift. He tightened it up at the back, and led by example. That was the point I was making. Dawson is a good centre back- teams don't concede goals from the back 4. 70% of goals conceded come from open play- in other words the ball being played up through the different 13rds of the pitch. Therefore defend from the front- we all know that is the case. Agree that we don't want a Premier League journey man at front. But there are forwards around who would do a job better than RVW ! I'd love Hooper to stay- but I don't think he's quite good enough. Everyone has their view on different players at different clubs. Look at Bassong under Hughton and Adams ? Look at him under Neil ? A totally different player. A player can be great at one club, and be totally different at another- RVW for example. If players were always consistently good, they'd be playing at a much higher level than Norwich. No one who is a committed NCFC fan can say that Neil hasn't made a massive impact when he took over. I agree that width is the answer in any league professional or amateur. Redmond has come good during the last 6 games. However- some games this season he has been selfish, greedy and shot from anywhere. He also moaned at anyone who didn't pass to him. However- he is a quality player when he accelerates and puts full backs on their back foot. OTBC !

    Report this comment

    canarysmithy

    Sunday, June 7, 2015

  • I have faith in AN but not blind faith. I think automatic promotion would have been achieved had he dropped a midfielder 2-3 months ago. We played percentages and it worked, but against Fulham, we played with width. We spanked them. Against Ipswich at home, width and we spanked them... And Boro speaks for itself. 3 goals a game in the last month since a midfielder was dropped for Redmond. We need to balance our play though. We do attack down the left, Johnsons goals have come from build up on the right. Johny Russell!!!! He's absolutely class. And yes, we need an entire back 4. But what I don't think we want are Premier League journey men who never make the grade consistently for one club and end up bouncing around the relegation clubs to maintain a decent paycheck. If they were worth their salt they would battle to WIN something like promotion with a decent Championship side. Why on Earth are we hearing names like Huth, Dunne, Dawson?! They are CBs at clubs that concede so many goals they are always on the brink of relegation!!!!

    Report this comment

    mikeskisandflies

    Sunday, June 7, 2015

  • I agree with most of what David says regarding players in the squad. 3rd keeper needed. Martin at right back and Whittaker as cover. New centre half with pace- Dawson from Hull or someone like Robert Huth- a bargain at £3m. Look what he did for Leicester when he came in. We don't need RVW or Hooper- I like Hooper but I would prefer Wes to play with Howson, Johnson, Redmond and Tettey with Jerome or Grabban up top. If we buy a striker it needs to be a proven premier league scorer. Unfortunately RVW and Hooper don't fit the bill for this. I like the fact that Alex Neil wants to stick faith with the squad who got us there. We will be a different beast under him next season- no doubt about that. It won't be a case of holding onto our best players- it will be a case of holding onto our manager !! I hope if we stay up next season we will invest in the ground. 28.5k is not big enough. Build on top of the city stand and fill the corners to give us 35k and a premier league ground. OTBC !!

    Report this comment

    canarysmithy

    Saturday, June 6, 2015

  • I have no axe to grind ref. Howson, Mike. Agree that he sometimes flatters to deceive. But, as many have said, this manager seems to extract the best from players. Plus - We already have an Itchy & Scratchy Show.

    Report this comment

    Mad Brewer

    Saturday, June 6, 2015

  • understand some of the concerns for another striker,i am sure we are aware that last year city would benefit regularly with 15 plus goal attempts with 4 or 5 on target,i remind myself that our last PL experience if we had 6 attempts then that was a good match.Next year we might benefit from jeromes presence but you need a chance taker like hooper to play off him,however dont believe this will happen regretfully. Having said that my main concern lies with the crying need for 1 or 2 centrebacks,i hope young neil agrees

    Report this comment

    dis dressed

    Saturday, June 6, 2015

  • Martin could not play right back in the premiership as he just can't get up and down anymore. He struggled two seasons ago. LG is no where near premiership class as I have said many times before. INWT

    Report this comment

    baguio

    Saturday, June 6, 2015

  • cutty

    Friday, June 5, 2015

  • @Cutty Yeah, the rant was simple. Russell at Derby is one of the best players I remember seeing in this division not just this season but in a long, long time. He scores, he provides pace & width, he's athletic (enough) but most importantly... he is technically brilliant and he will want to prove himself at the Premier. One of those players that will never quite make the step up to a bigger club so NCFC would be is ultimate opportunity. And players that know their limits and play to them for the shirt they wear are the people we want (Hucks, Roberts, Malky, Fleming, Drury, Martin, Ruddy, Wes, Holt etc). By comparison, who would go from a massive (flawed) club like Leeds to the smallest in London if not only for money... oh wait, that sounds like McCormack. Google the emphatic quality of Russells goals compared to, for example, Andreu. A goal from Russel will be an inch inside the post, a goal from Andreu should have been saved by a better keeper. I'd suggest, if Mad Brew is reading, that you could argue the same for several of Howson's goals. ;-)

    Report this comment

    mikeskisandflies

    Friday, June 5, 2015

  • Mike, as an ole git I'm afraid that I've got a very short attention span, I was with you about half way through but then dozed off. Could you repeat the second part. I truely found the first bit informative and interesting.:-) It's a MOG thing.

    Report this comment

    cutty

    Friday, June 5, 2015

  • Dear Archant, please update the character set represented in submitted texts to accurately represent the character set used while writing texts.. Brackets, hyphens, colons and dashes are all very useful when discussing football.. Cheers

    Report this comment

    jops

    Friday, June 5, 2015

  • Squad, GK Ruddy, RB Martin, CB Bassong, CB (New Player... Dawson (Hull) ?), LB Olsson, DM Tettey, RM Redmond, CM Johnson, LM (New Player.. Brady (Hull) ?), AM Hoolahan, CF JeromeNew Player. Bench:- Rudd, Whittaker, New DM, Howson, GrabbanHooper, JeromeNew CF, New AM (Johnny Russell (Derby) ?)

    Report this comment

    jops

    Friday, June 5, 2015

  • @madbrew.... He's just had his best season but I personally think, at Premier level, he's a squad player. Decisions have to be made regarding a first 11 and we certain player types cannot be duplicated. I think Wes is a certainty, so is Tettey. We need proper width on the left as we do on the right. That simply leaves one Midfield place from Johnson, Dorrans, O Neil and Howson. That's all. Trouble is that brilliant as Tettey is defensively he offers nothing more than a spoiler role. That puts a lot of emphasis on other players to do a lot more. And Tettey needs help defensively too at Premier level.

    Report this comment

    mikeskisandflies

    Friday, June 5, 2015

  • Am I correct in thinking you don`t rate Howson?

    Report this comment

    Mad Brewer

    Friday, June 5, 2015

  • Very true. 5 midfielders, whether people care to admit it or not, was a CH thing. We hated it. But in the Championship these players are a level above so 5 midfielders suddenly means points.

    Report this comment

    mikeskisandflies

    Friday, June 5, 2015

  • David Powles, are you Mike Bailey in disguise? What is it with this conviction about Howson? If anyone has 'found his level' in the Championship it is he. Technically good, but he is no Wes and I personally think that Dorrans is at least is equal. Ask yourself why no other manager has offered him a shot in the Prem? It is his pace. Mike Bailey, Rob Butler and Co are all adamant that he covers a lot of ground but I strongly disagree. He huffs and puffs and that gives an impression, but if anyone thinks he covers the same ground as Johnson then they are living in a different world. I ask all readers to YouTube both the Man Utd and Liverpool goals against us towards the end of last season. People talk about a losing mentality and our squad as a few of them (in my opinion) but watch Howson "tracking back" (or not) against Rooney & Sterling and Co. And then watch B Johnson. Howson is creative but he is absolutely nothing on Wes for speed of thought and movement of the ball. It is positively lethargic in comparison. The bottom line is that in the Prem the extra 2 seconds Howson takes is time seldom there. Only a squad player for me. I agree with your assessments on Whits and Olsson. In my opinion the whole left side (BJ & Olsson) will be exposed in the Prem and although BJ has scored from the left we create very little from that side... and if Whits is exposed he won't be so involved on the attacking right either... suddenly creativity might look sparse. Might I suggest Johny Russell at Derby? A very good player, similar to Wes but with more goals. A perfect second striker if you're only playing one up front. I am not convinced that russel Martin is now capable at CB or RB. He has lost a yard or 2 of pace but his influence is great. Trouble is, that's like QPR continuing to persevere with Clint Hill. A brilliant character but at Premier level? When you consider our current FBs and compare them to Adam Drury and Kyle Naughton I think we would all agree that we're lacking in that dpt. I think that Whits composure on the ball has a lot to do with time and space (afforded by opposition fb's sitting deep against Redmond) and we've seen before when somebody gets a run at him.... they get past him. Although Olsson is similar, same applies. For me, an entire back 4 is needed, not bothered about a 3rd keeper (cross that bridge etc), and a third pacey striker that can cover the wing too. IN: Aluko (Hull) Russell (Derby) Zamora (QPR) (no brainer as a squad player) and pretty much any back 4! OUT: Turner. David Powles, you're in fantasy land if you rate this guy. Shocking, Gary Doherty nice guy so should play strangeness. Lafferty and Hooper. Although they would probably play together very well! Miquel garrido & Cuellar obvioulsy R Bennett. One season, one season long loan. "Last chance".

    Report this comment

    mikeskisandflies

    Friday, June 5, 2015

  • Our problem is having to pack the midfield to protect a poor central defence. Hoolahan hooper and Jerome would be my choice. Muscle and work rate combined with class - CJ would flourish. Agree Grabban not prem class misses too many chances. Buy a defence.

    Report this comment

    Cyprus Canry

    Friday, June 5, 2015

  • Articles author blew his credibility by suggesting we chase a 32 year old championship quality striker.

    Report this comment

    wivenhoebudgie

    Friday, June 5, 2015

  • Agree entirely with DCL. If we rely on Grabban our goal difference will be embarrassing. Eddie Howe knew what he was doing.Need a CF to back up Cameron who has been excellent under our superb manager.

    Report this comment

    yorkie2

    Thursday, June 4, 2015

  • Wolf (featherweight), Lafferty (more yellows than goals), E Bennett (nice lad, but not really pushed on), Turner (Son of Ginger Pele), Miquel (who?), R Bennett (sick note), O'Neil (fathertime) and Grabban (makes Darren Beckford look ruthless) - all would be for the high jump under my new world order. Bennett is just too injury prone for me; I don't think we'll ever get a full season out of him. As much as I've defended Grabban this season, as I do believe he is a good championship player, to me he's a 1 in 3 striker i.e. he needs 3 good chances to get 1 goal. Well he won't get 3 chances in the prem - he'll get one. I'd rather keep Hooper than him. OTBC.

    Report this comment

    DeanConeyLegend

    Thursday, June 4, 2015

  • Is it just me, or is the title of this article somewhat misleading? Promotion heroes? How many of them actually got a regular berth in the run up to Wembley? With regard to the twins, I think it may be recognised that Jacob needs time and somewhere to develop. Did not Josh get a couple of run outs last time round in the premiership? Very interesting to have on the bench.

    Report this comment

    ToxicGasWarningSystem

    Thursday, June 4, 2015

  • DM find it hard to believe that martin considered one of the 2 best CBs in the division,nor for that matter why they didnt therefore include bassong "? wonder what criteria was involved,niceness and looking good going forward ? time will tell when we look at goals against around xmas. Just love to be proved wrong

    Report this comment

    dis dressed

    Thursday, June 4, 2015

  • Surely significant that the PFA selected Martin for their Championship team of the year? I also think he represents what's best about NCFC.

    Report this comment

    Dark Moon

    Thursday, June 4, 2015

  • Last time I looked, the Winkel rating on this poll was the reverse of the one on the Winkel-only vote. I reckon the trolls from down the A140 have invaded the simpler vote. This one would be far too complex for them.

    Report this comment

    Mad Brewer

    Thursday, June 4, 2015

  • I think pre-Neil I would have had no second thoughts on letting Whittaker go, but he's a different player now. Surprised the Twins have different votes, more think Jacob should go. I don't want Murphy but neither am I deluded enough as David so politely put it to want Ricky to stay. Middle of defence would definitely be my main concern.

    Report this comment

    6FingerGiant

    Thursday, June 4, 2015

  • I have no issues with us signing a bin dipper, but only if he is good enough. I dont think Murphy could offer up anything different or better than our current strikers. As for Martin, he has proven multiple times that he is a good enough RB for the prem, he isnt a good enough CB though, and we desperately need 2 new CBs. there are plenty of out of favour CBs at big clubs who we can stiff around this summer.

    Report this comment

    Cozens

    Thursday, June 4, 2015

  • Olsson is Prem quality all day long, maybe it's a motivation thing but he seems a better player in the Premier league games.

    Report this comment

    GossVolley

    Thursday, June 4, 2015

  • Murphy? F**k off!!!

    Report this comment

    GossVolley

    Thursday, June 4, 2015

  • regretfully your point on martin being a nice guy and good captain,does little to remind me that he is slow on the turn,cant tackle,mistimes his heading attempts and marks space,as for lewis his main attributes,running with pace will not contribute much in the premier,must improve technique and sharpshooting,always happy to be wrong... also just cant see martin improving beyond his last premier displays,and regular mistakes ending last season

    Report this comment

    dis dressed

    Thursday, June 4, 2015

  • I find it amusing how you say that fans that would give Ricky another go are deluded but then advocate the signing of Murphy.

    Report this comment

    James Kent

    Thursday, June 4, 2015

  • This is a good article and a good assessment of our overall squad. Regards to the GK - I personally don't always like when team sign a "top class" replacement for them to sit on the bench and often think the money should be spent elsewhere. Having said that, it only takes a suspension or injury to Ruddy for this to be a bad decision not to sign one. I think we should should stick with Rudd as #2 and use him in cup games, let's be honest when have we ever posed a threat in a up. Also, to the Strikers. I would start with Jerome next . I know he did not score many goal at Palace the season before but he works so much off the ball and his pace and power is a real threat. Also, I wonder how many strikers seem to "work" in the premier league when playing in a team they are used to and players that understand each other. I would put Rickie Lambert and Grant Holt in this category, would they have have had the success if they went straight into a new team and expected to score the number of goals they did...? I think probably not. I'm not stupid, I do not think he would score the number of goals as he did last year but I think he is a real threat in the system Alex Neil plays and additionally from set pieces. Whoever gets the nod upfront if they can get ~10 goals with others chipping in I would be surprised to see us relegated. What we don't is to rely on 1 striker for goals - Burnley and QPR....

    Report this comment

    Ave

    Thursday, June 4, 2015

  • Relatively interesting read, some strong suggestions and some outrageous ones as well! Daryll Murphy? If anyone has found his level, it's him. Funny how we see things differently though. I don't think Grabban is as good as you state but I agree he will be an important player for us next season. Still think we need 1 more striker but that's probably the fan in me talking rather than my head.

    Report this comment

    Jimmy Smith

    Thursday, June 4, 2015

  • Olsson was our best player in the Premier league last time - assessed here as Championship level ... ! Only the manager's opinion is relevant anyway so why speculate ?

    Report this comment

    Johny

    Thursday, June 4, 2015

  • I am not joking, Jim - but the fact that Martin is such a great guy and our captain is of course a problem. I have also heard pundits say excactly the same thing, so it is not just me.. Bassong has really got skills, but his sort of "laid-back" mentality (the heel-kick in the Wembley finale, for instance) is something PL-teams punish very hard - like Middlesbrough almost did.

    Report this comment

    norwaysbiggesthoolahanfan

    Thursday, June 4, 2015

  • That's a pretty good assessment imo. I really enjoyed reading it until the sting in the tail. Daryl Murphy? In the PL? You are having a merry jest Sir. Not because he's a binner - but what does he have over CJ? And we don't play long ball anyway. If you put that in to wind us up it worked on me:-)

    Report this comment

    el dingo

    Thursday, June 4, 2015

  • I disagree with some, but thank you for putting the RVW thing put there. I'm glad we're not all getting starry eyed delusions about the misfit. I can only assume Norway is joking...those two will be our 1st choice CBs whether he likes it or not. No way could we find another CB of bassong ability elsewhere to come to us and Marton is our capt. I still think we need a new RB and CF. We also need to be looking at the youth team to fill other gaps. No point in having a top academy otherwise. Toffolo etc.

    Report this comment

    JimBob

    Thursday, June 4, 2015

  • I am sorry David - I couldn`t disagree more regarding the back 4 here. As I see it, Martin and Bassong is the two players who are most doubtful for the step up to Premier League.

    Report this comment

    norwaysbiggesthoolahanfan

    Thursday, June 4, 2015

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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