Charlton 0 Norwich City 2: Yanic Wildschut catches the eye in Canaries’ friendly win
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Yanic Wildschut impressed in Norwich City's latest 2-0 friendly win against Charlton on Tuesday night.
The former Wigan flyer slammed home a first half opener before setting up Steven Naismith to seal the victory for Daniel Farke's squad in another competitive workout against the League One hosts.
Norwich's early play was sharp and purposeful but there was lack of composure in the final third. Nelson Oliveira hooked wide at the far post after Naismith had miscued wildly. But there was a notable cohesion without the ball; reflecting the thrust of Farke's work in Germany last week. City funnelled back with two banks of four when the Addicks look to release their speedy wing men. Russell Martin was the organiser-in-chief, operating in a central role with young Ben Godfrey switched to right-back.
Godfrey is still a baby in the senior set-up but Norwich clearly have a teenager with so much potential. Physically, he looks more than capable of coping with the rigours of Championship life but there will be mistakes and inconsistencies at this stage. Josh Murphy is arguably emerging at the opposite end of those growing pains.
Murphy attacked with intent down the left, linking well with the overlapping James Husband, a pairing that carries plenty of promise.
The same applies to Farke's close season influence. But so much of this still remains guesswork until Fulham and beyond.
Bar a wretched night at Stevenage in the second half Norwich have largely overwhelmed pre-season opponents through a weight of possession. Brighton will present a stiffer test in their final dress rehearsal this weekend. This Norwich collective need to be put sustained pressure to test the robustness of Farke's methods. It is perhaps unrealistic to expect such an ambitious project not to suffer some inevitable early discomfort. This is effectively a fresh start with a new head coach learning about the English game and guiding a re-modelled squad shorn of some big characters.
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The Naismith, Harrison Reed and James Maddison axis struggled to exert genuine control during the first quarter at The Valley. Reed's delightful pivot to lose his marker was a high tariff move, but it was on the edge of his own penalty area.
Murphy veered into central areas in a search for the ball but one heavy pass intended for Husband brought a halt to that experiment. There was more anguish in the 28th minute when he skied the full-back's cutback from a gorgeous Maddison pass.
Wildschut showed his fellow wide player how it should be done with a vicious low, swinging shot that nestled inside the far post in the 34th minute, before a purposeful drive and pass was slotted by Naismith shortly after the interval. You sense these friendlies carry more meaning for the Dutchman, who bar a similarly venomous finish at Bristol City towards the end of last season still has to convince many.
Farke opted for the same tactical switch at the break as on Friday against Bielefeld. Christoph Zimmermann was the anchor in a back three. The versatile Godfrey was deployed as a left wing-back, with Wildschut afforded the licence to attack on the opposite flank prior to his withdrawal just past the hour mark. Cameron Jerome replaced Oliveira and was again paired centrally with Murphy. There is no doubt City's German head coach believes it is a ploy that may pay dividends in the Championship.
Central to any formation Farke adopts is comfort in possession. The German's philosophy is typified by Saints' loanee Reed. The youngster may not have Alex Tettey's all-action brand of industry but his close control and willingness to take the ball in pressurised situations at Charlton was often the difference between exposing City's defence and triggering rapid attacks.
Reed's departure for Tettey sparked Charlton's best spell of concerted pressure. Which perhaps told its own story, but in the end this was another progressive step.
• Charlton (starting line up): Phillips, Dijksteel, Sarr, Bauer, Barnes, Fosu, Crofts, Forster-Caskey, Holmes, Clarke, Magennis.
• Norwich City: McGovern (Gunn 45), Martin, Godfrey (Zimmermann 45), Franke, Husband, Reed (Tettey 66), Wildschut (Watkins 66), Naismith, Maddison (Vrancic 66), Murphy, Oliveira (Jerome 45). Subs all used.
• Goals: Wildschut (34), Naismith (55)
• Referee: David Rock
• Attendance: 2,650 (480 away fans)