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‘He’s got almost four years on me!’ – Returning star impressed with the man who benefitted from his absence

Alex Pritchard pulls the trigger on his Norwich City comeback against Preston, watched in the background by James Maddison.  Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

Alex Pritchard pulls the trigger on his Norwich City comeback against Preston, watched in the background by James Maddison. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

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At the end of last season Alex Pritchard was the man to build Norwich City’s fortunes around – now on the forward’s return, another has threatened to take the mantle: James Maddison.

Maddison has been a stand-out performer for the Canaries this term, scoring superb goals and putting in eye-catching performances – and he turned 21 years old only last week.

Meanwhile at 24, Pritchard’s frustrating campaign saw him sidelined in pre-season after ankle surgery. He finally made his comeback as a substitute in Saturday’s draw with Preston.

City fans will be desperate to see their side’s direction of travel improve now Pritchard is back in the fold, while the man himself has also been an impressed spectator as Maddison truly arrived at Carrow Road – including his latest beauty of a free-kick against former manager Alex Neil’s current side.

Pritchard said: “I don’t even know how old he is. He’s just turned 21? That’s what I mean – he’s got almost four years on me!

James Maddison tries to break free of Paul Gallagher during Norwich City's 1-1 draw with Preston North End at Carrow Road. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images James Maddison tries to break free of Paul Gallagher during Norwich City's 1-1 draw with Preston North End at Carrow Road. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

“He’s still a young boy but when we get him on the ball, get him moving – he’s been amazing this season. I was screaming at him to shoot from the sidelines (on Saturday) while I was warming up.

MORE: Michael Bailey’s six things learned from Norwich City’s 1-1 draw with Preston

“He has been terrific. He’s got his head down and he’s worked hard for this. And now he has to keep going. He has got to keep his feet on the ground and he is still learning, like we all are still learning.

“There are certain things on the other side of the game that he can get better on, like we all can. But he’s young, he’s talented, he’s got everything to get to the top level. He just needs to stay focused.”

This time it's Alex Pritchard watching on the touchline, as James Maddison gives Norwich City the lead by beating Preston keeper Chris Maxwell with his glorious free-kick. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images This time it's Alex Pritchard watching on the touchline, as James Maddison gives Norwich City the lead by beating Preston keeper Chris Maxwell with his glorious free-kick. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

While new England Under-21 international Maddison has caught the attention of a former young Lion, Pritchard admitted he won’t be bringing fresh eyes to Daniel Farke’s team as their season threatens to stall.

However, with Wes Hoolahan a further option Pritchard does hope the City head coach figures a way to feature as many of his playmakers as possible.

“It’s not really fresh eyes because you’re around the team and you’re part of the team, so I’m going along with them; it’s the same thing,” added Pritchard.

“If you want to play football and you need to play football, then why not (play three playmakers). It’s up to the boss. He’s the main man.”

For the latest Norwich City news and opinion follow Michael Bailey on the following channels…

Michael Bailey on Twitter @michaeljbailey

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Michael Bailey on Instagram @mrmichaeljbailey

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