Monday, January 7, 2013
Elliott Bennett must be a manager’s dream. The former Brighton flyer has had to sit and bide his time more than most within Chris Hughton’s squad; forced to settle for a series of late cameos during the pre-festive Premier League unbeaten run and then subsequent downturn.
Bennett’s last start in the senior ranks came at Aston Villa back on October 27. Recalled by Hughton for the FA Cup tie at Peterborough, and deployed in an unfamiliar role down the middle as chief support to Simeon Jackson, Bennett was superb.
His pace, touch and awareness of players around him makes a truly multi-dimensional option for Hughton. Bennett is so much more than a wide player powering up and down that right flank - the 24-year-old is an intelligent footballer.
His vision teed up a half-chance for Robert Snodgrass early on but Bobby Olejnik punched clear. The Austrian then took off into orbit to claw away Bennett’s rising hit.
There was nothing he could do about the opener. Instant control in a confined space 10 yards out before a guided right foot slot just inside Olejnik’s post.
Bennett’s predatory instincts remained impressively sharp after the interval. One diving near post run was inches from connecting with Russell Martin’s cross before he turned provider to repay the favour to Snodgrass who sealed Norwich City’s place in the FA Cup fourth round.