Paddy Davitt: Harrison Reed and the case for the defence at Norwich City

Harrison Reed has had to bide his time at Norwich City after a bright start following his move from

Harrison Reed has had to bide his time at Norwich City after a bright start following his move from Southampton. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Kenny McLean's arrival, Alex Pritchard's exit, Steven Naismith's departure on loan, the on-going contractual situations around Tom Trybull and Alex Tettey.

Norwich City's midfield mix will deserve its own book, never mind chapter, when the dust settles on Daniel Farke's first season in office.

That is even before you get to James Maddison's emergence as one of this league's most promising talents.

Plus all the attendant speculation around his longer-term future in this transfer window and, hopefully, the next.

Fewer column inches have been devoted to one of his best mates in the Carrow Road dressing room.

Tom Trybull has emerged as a key figure in the Norwich City midfield. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus

Tom Trybull has emerged as a key figure in the Norwich City midfield. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd


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Another young, English talent who has already made that jump to the Premier League - which looks the destined path sooner or later for Maddison.

Harrison Reed arrived in the summer with a big reputation and the expectation he was the ideal fit for the way Farke wanted to set about the task of forging a new identity.

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A gifted, technical central midfielder cast in the modern mould, with a range of passing to build the play from deep which is the Farke philosophy.

Such was the German's faith in the 22-year-old Saint, Tettey was relegated to a watching brief in the early months of this campaign - before the house caved in at Millwall, and Farke's pragmatic side saw a role reversal.

Alex Tettey had a rare off day on Saturday but the midfielder has re-established himself under Danie

Alex Tettey had a rare off day on Saturday but the midfielder has re-established himself under Daniel Farke. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Tettey was reprieved to forge a far more effective barrier alongside Trybull in a union that sparked a major upturn in fortunes.

Reed was collateral damage.

Norwich's struggles were not down to the midfielder's 'failure' to stamp his mark on the Championship but a general, uncomfortable adaptation process for both Farke, his coaches, and those under his charge.

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The sight of Reed at the Den trying to patrol the entire width of the pitch as the hosts raided with apparent impunity on the counter was painful to watch and, no doubt, a chastening experience for the young man.

For that is what he remains.

Reed had only made six Premier League starts prior to this season-long loan switch.

This is his first full professional season and he chose the arduous terrain of the Championship for the next stage of his education.

That appears to have been lost in translation, given the fanfare that greeted his arrival.

A point perhaps the intelligent, self-aware Reed acknowledged himself earlier this season.

'Coming out on loan, I realised what I've been missing with first team football,' he said.

'I'm learning off the coaches and the experienced players all the time. There's not a massive gulf between the top Championship teams and the Premier League teams.

'You look at the millions Wolves have spent.

'I'm really enjoying it. I'm pleased and grateful for the opportunity to come here.

'I just want to build consistency so we can pick up points.

'I felt I started the season strongly and then maybe had a dip in one or two games.

'Then obviously I had to take a seat on the sidelines when Alex came in alongside Tom and take nothing away from them they did fantastically well.

'It helps now to come back in and we have two players in there who can give us that defensive structure.

'If you keep clean sheets in this league we will pick up points.'

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The Tettey/Trybull combination fused the perfect blend of technical passing ability and aggressive pressing.

A more refined template can work - witness the manner Reed and Trybull anchored that derby win at Portman Road - but setting aside Tettey's aberration against Sheffield United and Trybull's current unavailability with a back problem, over the long haul Norwich have relied on the Norwegian's combativeness and the German's coolness.

Reed remain a viable alternative but given he returns to the south-coast at the end of the campaign his time to make a real, lasting impression has arguably passed.

The 22-year-old will be a far better player for his experience in these parts.

But his parent club will reap the benefits. That in essence is the nature of borrowing starlets from the top flight.

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City have repeated the experiment now with another young midfielder in Tottenham's Marcus Edwards.

The teenager has even less chance to make an impact than Reed.

City's top brass clearly feel it is worth the gamble.

The faith in Maddison has paid off spectacularly.

But the manner the England Under-21 ace has grabbed his big chance, partly through Pritchard's early season ankle injury and the waning influence of Wes Hoolahan, is possibly the exception to the norm.

• For the latest Norwich City news and opinion follow Group Football Editor Paddy Davitt on the following channels…

Paddy Davitt on Twitter @paddyjdavitt

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