Jonny Howson impresses Paul Lambert on his Norwich City debut
Jonny Howson will have a big impact on Norwich's Premier League run-in, according to Paul Lambert.
The City chief sprung something of a minor selection surprise at Stoke with a full senior debut for the ex-Leeds midfielder following a three-month lay-off with a knee injury.
Howson was immediately promoted to the first team ranks after successfully coming through a full midweek reserve shift.
Lambert hinted on the eve of battle Howson was in his thoughts for one of the toughest assignments of the Premier League season, and the City chief had no hesitation in deciding to deploy the 23-year-old alongside former Elland Road team mate Bradley Johnson in a dual screening role at the Britannia Stadium.
'He did really fine cconsidering it was his first game for a few months,' said Lambert, after giving Howson a 75 minute run out before he made way for Aaron Wilbraham with the visitors striving to cancel out Matthew Etherington's late opener.
'Jonny will be a big player for us come the next weeks. I have great belief in him to go and do it, as I do with all the lads. You have got to see how fit he is and how he can fit into the side, but that game will stand him in good stead. It is not easy to leave out lads when you change a side, but that is what happens in football all over the world.'
Howson marked his debut with a yellow card for a mistimed lunge on Glenn Whelan during an opening period when Lambert's side more than matched Stoke's physical endeavour.
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'You don't get that in this league most weeks. There isn't a right way or a wrong way to play football. It's anybody's prerogative to play how they want to play,' said Lambert. 'For my own team, I couldn't ask anymore.
'Maybe it wasn't until Stoke scored that we started to look threatening at the other end. I think when you get a goal against you then the lads know they need to go and do something to pick it up and get going.
'It wasn't through the lack of trying that we wanted to get a goal and a win up here. I just think there weren't many chances for both sides. John (Ruddy) had one save to make in the first half, other than that there wasn't much for either side.
'We changed it at half-time and brought Simeon (Jackson) on because we had to get up the pitch the way the game was going.'