Young players getting a chance added to Norwich City’s superb opening-day victory
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Fans' Zone writer Lee Payne reflects on Norwich City's 4-1 win at Blackburn on the opening day of the Championship season.
Optimism and supporting Norwich City are unusual bedfellows.
Perhaps that's why I, and several other fans I have spoken to since, reacted to the Blackburn game with a certain sense of bewilderment. Just how are you supposed to act when everything goes as well as that?
The way City outclassed their opponents in every single department was a joy to behold. All of the goals came as a result of something special, be it a brilliant finish or some sublime intricate passing. It is vital that no one gets carried away – Blackburn clearly have serious problems and there will be much better sides than them to play this season – but a rare opening day win, delivered in such style, deserves high praise.
When I last wrote one of these columns, in May, I gave my suggestions as to how City should approach this season. One of them was to clear out the deadwood. That hasn't really happened, admittedly. In fact, every single player that started at Ewood Park was on the books last season. My other wishes, though, have sort of come to fruition.
I wanted City to keep Alex Neil in the job, and indeed they have, with the experienced Alan Irvine, right, brought in to help him. I wanted Jonny Howson to be made captain, and there he was, wearing the armband. Whether that was just in the absence of Russell Martin or not remains to be seen, but I like it.
My last hope for this season was that youth would finally be given a chance. It was always more likely in the Championship, but it was great to see Jacob Murphy make his first start on Saturday. Jacob has always seemed somewhat in the shadow of his twin Josh, so it was nice for him to get the nod ahead of his sibling. Hopefully they will be on the pitch together at the same time in the weeks ahead.
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Norwich City have emerged from the opening weekend of the season as by some distance the outstanding team in the Championship. It shows that, despite what people say, there is a gulf in class between the Premier League and the second tier if the same squad that struggled so much last season can look such a cut above now. As Neil has said, we must keep our feet on the ground – but what a start.