Forget Madders. Magic Mo can thrive in a deeper role for Canaries
Moritz Leitner is not the heir apparent to James Maddison - but he is crucial to Norwich City.
The cultured midfielder has impressed in his last two Championship outings against Ipswich and Middlesbrough operating in a deeper role alongside Alex Tettey.
Leitner returned to the club in the summer to soften the blow of Maddison’s club-record transfer to Premier League Leicester City, and head coach Daniel Farke insists the 25-year-old can prove just as important.
“He has played a few times in this defensive role for us. Not in the way of defending against the ball, but it allows him to have the game in front of him and he can influence it. A bit more like a quarter back role,” said Farke.
“He is able to do this and I don’t think it was a coincidence that at Ipswich he was there with his first goal for the club, a brilliant finish in a yellow shirt.
“He is a bit more the player who is there with the second last pass or a good build up pass where maybe an Alex Pritchard or a James Maddison are able to score many times in the season and be there with 15 assists.
“When Moritz has players he can bring into the game and almost initialise attacks then, for me, he is in his best role. That is what we will try to do.
“We want to see more of him in that role but of course he is also allowed to score and to assist.
“Those are also things he has to add to his game.
“We need that from all our midfielders and I am pretty pleased with his performance.”
Leitner was a key figure in the 1-0 league win over Boro that was full of energy and high tempo football. Farke wants more of the same when they head to Reading on Wednesday.
“We did this in the first half against West Brom, the same Leeds and Cardiff. We are looking like we can score and create a lot,” said Farke. “You also have to regard the opponent. It is not easy to create so many chances against a team like Middlesbrough.
“It is important we play our style, and that is to control the game with the ball but also to be there with high pressing. We can’t copy a team like Middlesbrough or Cardiff last season.
“We don’t have the players to do this.
“We won’t win with only set pieces or concentrating on defending with six tall guys. We have the players to play football.”