Norwich City Report Card: Bye bye Angus. Hello Remi
PUBLISHED: 11:39 15 May 2018 | UPDATED: 11:39 15 May 2018
©Focus Images Limited www.focus-images.co.uk +447814 482222
Angus Gunn is the focus as Group Football Editor Paddy Davitt kicks off our summer series looking at what the future holds for the key men who were part of Daniel Farke’s squad last season.
There was a telling moment in the midst of the eulogies lavished on Wes Hoolahan during an emotional, tear-filled farewell against Leeds United.
It started as a rumble and then became a full-throated rendition of the terrace anthem for Norwich City’s number one to match the decibels that greeted Hoolahan’s exit.
Daniel Farke joked afterwards he had been tempted to join in as he stood at the front of his technical area with the carnival in full swing.
Angus Gunn has the name but not the longevity to rival the Irish midfielder in these parts.
Yet his impact was every bit as big as that imposing frame which kept 15 clean sheets in a side who finished 14th in the Championship.
Add the maturity with which he handled all the hype and hoopla of following in the famous gloves of his dad, Bryan, and you have to marvel at the foresight of Stuart Webber and Farke to entice him to Carrow Road.
Gunn arrived without a minute of professional action in his career, following his ascent through the academy ranks at Manchester City.
He leaves now as one of the country’s most exciting English goalkeeping prospects; despite the flirtation from the land of his father.
Those mischievous quotes from former City manager Peter Grant upon joining Alex McLeish’s set-up regarding the availability of the 22-year-old came in the wake of Gunn’s promotion to train with Gareth Southgate’s full Three Lions squad for the November friendly against Brazil.
Longer term international ambitions can wait.
It is his immediate club future that is of more pressing concern for all parties.
Gunn will not return to his newly-crowned parent club to play second fiddle to Brazilian first choice Ederson.
The former Benfica keeper’s new deal keeping him at the Citizens until at least 2025 has ramifications for his rivals.
That much is clear.
Sadly, so too any faint prospects of another tour of duty with the Canaries.
That is not going to happen.
Gunn has moved on and so too must the club that gave him the platform to showcase his prodigious talent.
Look instead to clubs in the middle to lower tiers of the Premier League for potentially a fresh loan stint.
Watford looks a perfect fit, with the experienced Hurelho Gomes entering the twilight of his career.
Newly-relegated Stoke City have been touted again in recent days as they prepare the ground for Jack Butland’s inevitable summer exit.
Those Norwich fans who feted the 22-year-old on a memorable final league outing at Carrow Road last month may have to watch his return in the opposition ranks should all the planets align.
Facing him will be Remi Matthews.
The time is fast approaching where the Gorleston-bred prospect needs to convert promising loan spells of his own into wearing the number one jersey at his boyhood club.
He knows that and so too do City’s top brass, who were hugely impressed by the assured nature of his consistent work at Plymouth in League One.
Matthews was no less resolute than Gunn over recent months.
The Pilgrims were nearer the relegation places than the top six when he first arrived, but 10 clean sheets in 27 outings underpinned a remarkable transformation that left Argyle agonisingly teetering on the edge of the play-offs.
Matthews will get the first chance to stake his claim to succeed Gunn.
Then it is up to the 24-year-old to prove he can handle the step up and make the same seamless progress of his highly-rated predecessor.
With Michael McGovern an experienced foil and Aston Oxborough touted as another off the production line coming through, City’s last line of defence is one area where Farke already appears stocked.
But be in no doubt, Gunn is a tough act to follow.