Iwan Roberts: Former City man was the most natural goalscorer I ever played with
PUBLISHED: 06:01 28 September 2018
What a couple of weeks it’s been for Norwich City.
Having not won an away game since the end of January they’ve now won their last three and are up to 11th in the league and remarkably they are just four points behind top-of-the-table Leeds.
They are also through to the fourth round of the Carabao Cup, after an enthralling game at Adams Park on Tuesday night and all of a sudden there is a belief around the city again.
This run has been even more incredible considering the absence of club captain and in my opinion the best centre half at the club Grant Hanley.
However, with Grant missing, it’s given Christoph Zimmermann an opportunity which he’s grabbed with both hands.
Once again Teemu Pukki grabbed the headlines last weekend when he scored the winner at Loftus Road with a bit of a scruffy goal, one that put a smile on my face as I’ve scored my fair share of scruffy goals in my time.
I’ve scored goals that I’ve known nothing about but I couldn’t have cared less as it touched me last and so was another one on to my tally.
It took me nearly four years to grab my first and only hat-trick for the club, it’s taken Jordan Rhodes slightly less after his treble the other night.
As soon as I saw he’d bagged a couple in the opening 14 minutes against Wycombe you just knew it was only a matter of time before he scored his third of the night and the match ball would be on the team coach coming home with him.
I’ve got four signed footballs from my four career hat-tricks and all four are locked away in the downstairs cupboard. I don’t know why, but I’m not one to have memorabilia on show all over the house (well, Lou, my wife isn’t) so instead of being in a nice glass case for all to see, since moving house a few weeks ago their home has gone from being in a box in the garage with all the shirts I’ve collected over the years to a dark cupboard that they share with the hoover and some of my trainers to keep them company!
MORE: Jordan Rhodes happy to play his part in united City squad
I’ve been very fortunate over my 20-year career to have played with some proper goalscorers, but the most natural finisher I had the pleasure to play with is another Welshman to have played for the Canaries, Malcolm Allen.
Considering I’ve played with prolific strikers such as Luther Blissett in my early days at Watford, the goal machine Stevie Bull at Wolves and my all time hero Ian Rush for Wales it tells just how highly I rated Mally before a cruel knee injury cut short his very promising career.
I’ve honestly never seen anyone so cool in front of goal when he was given an opportunity - and no you can’t compare the amount of goals Mally scored to the goals Luther, Bully or Rushie scored, but I don’t think any of those three had the composure Malcolm had and that’s a massive compliment to him as those three were lethal.
When Malcolm and I played together for both Wales and Watford we would speak to each other on the pitch in Welsh as it was our first language and we used to confuse the life out of the opposition’s two centre halves who hadn’t a clue what we were saying.
We were best of mates on and off the pitch as we came from the same part of Wales and had known each other for years before we moved to Watford.
In fact a big part of my decision to join Watford was I knew Malcolm was already there.
As I said earlier Malcolm’s career was ended far too early due to a very bad knee injury, a knee that a few months ago had its very last operation on and one that he nearly lost his leg to.
After surgery he had a really bad infection in his knee and Malcolm being Malcolm left it until the pain got unbearable to go back to the hospital to get things checked out.
He was operated on again immediately and given antibiotics through a drip which after about a week cleared the infection.
He was told by the surgeon that had he left it another couple of days before coming back to hospital there wouldn’t have been anything they could have done and so would have had to amputate his leg.
However, I’m glad to say he’s now back to full fitness. We won’t be seeing him on the pitch anytime soon but he’ll soon be back on the golf course hacking away.