Nathan Redmond, Alex Neil and Wes Hoolahan - The diminutive trio who are proving to be Norwich City giants

Wes Hoolahan has been one of the cornerstones of Norwich Citys Premier League campaign so far.

Wes Hoolahan has been one of the cornerstones of Norwich Citys Premier League campaign so far. - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Regular readers of this column will know that I like the odd random fact about the Canaries.

I decided pretty soon after the terrific win at the Stadium of Light that the theme of this week's offering would be Nathan Redmond, Alex Neil and Wes Hoolahan – three of the men of the moment for City.

I was tempted to go down the road of 'Heard the one about the Englishman, Scotsman and Irishman?'

Mmmm, probably too much scope to get myself in trouble there.

The trio are at very different stages of their careers and have very different footballing styles.

So, I thought, what can be the link to them as I analyse the impact they have had on Norwich's rise back to the Premier League and that memorable day on Wearside which has kick-started our campaign? Right, now for the random fact.

If you stand them in a row with Wes first, the gaffer second and Redderz next, there will be a one inch jump each time in their heights.

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Impressed? No, I thought not.

But it got me thinking that at a time when we are told that footballers have to be big strong Toure-type units, these diminutive stars are making a massive impact.

Neil's impact on Saturday's game reminded me of the play-off final.

On that occasion he had learned from the earlier defeat to Boro and how he turned things round.

It was the same at the weekend as Neil picked up swiftly the harsh lessons from the Palace match and masterminded the win at the Stadium of Light.

His league away record since he took over of nine wins and four draws is remarkable.

In many ways there is nothing I can say about Wes which hasn't been said on countless times before.

His £250,000 transfer fee must be one of the best pieces of business in the club's history.

Wes had an amazing 88pc pass accuracy on Saturday and his touches were mesmerising.

There were doubters that he could do it at this level – and he seems to revel in proving them wrong.

Redmond has also had question marks over his head.

But I firmly believe he will get better and better and the bigger the stage, the more he will shine.


I felt for Bradley Johnson when he was left out of the starting team on Saturday – although I wasn't at all surprised.

He was by far and away the stand-out player for City last season as we stormed out of the Championship.

His 15 goals from the left side of midfield was an achievement in itself.

But it was his talismanic performances week in, week out and those fabulous thumping strikes which ensured he was the undisputed player of the season.

Despite promotion there haven't been wholesale changes at Carrow Road.

Even so, Jonno was always going to be the man to miss out when Alex Neil decided to expose Sunderland's defensive frailties and go for it with Redmond and Wes.

This will be a long, tough season. Neil will need to make changes and there will be injuries and suspensions. We all know what Jonno can do and he is certainly a brilliant bloke to have in the squad – and as proved to be the case he is a terrific option to have on the bench.

You know what you are going to get from him – 100pc commitment, strength, inspiration and a great shot.

They are all attributes we will need in bucketloads during a Premier League campaign.

• HERO OF THE WEEK: I'm never sure Steven Whittaker will ever truly win over Norwich fans. He is an easy scapegoat and that was certainly the case against Palace. So his response against Sunderland was great to see – and he really deserved his place in Garth Crooks' team of the week.

• VILLAIN OF THE WEEK: In so many ways Jose Mourinho is great for football – but his reaction to the team doctor and subsequent unwillingness to apologise has turned a lot of people in the game against him – and meant they revelled in the team's thumping at the Etihad.

• HIGHLIGHT OF THE WEEK: There was almost as much amazement on Saturday that City were going to be on Match of the Day first as there was about the fact that we won with such relative ease up north. Long may we keep forcing the TV bosses to give us premier air time. And it means I can stay awake!

• FUNNIEST MOMENT OF THE WEEK: You can always rely on football fans to come up with amusing songs for all events. The Man City supporters certainly did the honours with their 'sacked in the morning' chant when the substitute Chelsea medical team went on the pitch.

• PREDICTION OF THE WEEK: There's a certain flow to a lose, win, draw start to a season. So I think we're on for a stalemate against Stoke this weekend. And that won't be a bad result against a very strong side. I'd take four points from three games.