'What he's got to do is keep playing' – City legend has his say on departed star
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Rob Newman believes Norwich City have big gloves to fill now Angus Gunn’s romantic return is over.
The highly-rated Manchester City goalkeeper and son of Canaries legend Bryan was a star turn during his season’s loan from the Etihad – playing his first senior games and excelling in the process.
Norwich fans – and plenty inside Carrow Road – would love to have the England Under-21 stopper back for the next Championship campaign. However, Newman expects that ship has sailed.
“I honestly don’t know what Manchester City are planning to do,” said Newman. “I do know Pep Guardiola likes him. Angus has gone out on loan and done what he was expected to do – he’s played 40-odd games, which is fantastic.
“His next move is very important. What he’s got to do is keep on playing, because he has done very well at Norwich – and it’s now down to his dad, his agents and Manchester City to make sure the next move is right for Angus.
“It’s testament to the guy that he did really well here. He came in and had the backing of the fans through his dad – but he didn’t need it because he performed admirably.
“It’s probably just a shame it never happened the year before because if it had, the probability was he would have stayed at Norwich and all of a sudden, you’d be talking about him playing nearly 100 games.
“But he’s done really well. He had big footprints to fill with Bryan, and I thought he did it really well. Whoever comes in at Norwich now will have big steps to fill too.”
Gunn has two years left on his current deal at Manchester City, where Newman works as international scouting and recruitment manager.
And while Premier League Watford were an early summer option for the young keeper, it could yet be that another Championship season – possibly at Aston Villa or Leeds – awaits.
The Citizens will want a decision made by early July, while the Canaries are already looking elsewhere for their keeper options next season.
With Gunn out of the picture and Paul Jones out of contract, 24-year-old academy product Remi Matthews is in prime position to carry the City gloves come pre-season – with experienced Northern Ireland keeper Michael McGovern waiting in the wings.
Former Canaries centre-half Newman was among a host of former Carrow Road favourites reliving past glories in aid of the Community Sports Foundation’s Build The Nest fund, as they entertained in a 2-1 defeat to Inter Forever – 25 years on from the pair’s Uefa Cup duel.
And while Newman doubts his own legends career would last too much longer, he hopes the idea comes to more than one game.
“I really think it could be,” said Newman, who made 249 appearances during seven years at City.
“When you’re in your 40s you can do it but when you are 54 like me you think, ‘Jeez, I’m going to be 55 next year’.
“Then you see Inter’s left-back (Giuseppe Baresi) running up and down, and he’s 60. So I guess there’s about five years left in me.
“Obviously it would be great to meet up again and you never know. It’s difficult to replicate those things. There was a reason we did this one and it was the selling point. Plus Inter were over for their Chelsea game too.
“To just make a reason up every year would mean it was less of an occasion. There are other ways of getting everyone together without running around for 80 minutes!
“But it’s something they should consider – not necessarily so much the likes of our era but Iwan Roberts, Darren Huckerby, Grant Holt… They are still young enough to do those games every few years, because people still want to see those players.”
Darren Eadie proved he is still young enough to churn out the legends minutes too – although whether he would want to given the scything early tackle he received from Francesco Colonnese, is another matter.
“He faced every week when he was playing, didn’t he?” said Newman. “They highlighted him as the quick guy and then made sure they stopped him.
“Apparently Darren put one on Marco Materazzi after that, and he was moaning like anything – Darren reckoned he left his studs in, but I said ‘mate, you never did that – you’re a winger; you don’t tackle anyone’!
“He really feared because his leg went numb. For the amount of time he stayed down, it must’ve been pretty serious. Then in a funny way, that probably gave the game a bit more spice – we all knew it wasn’t just a friendly from then. It was serious.”
Newman added: “For me to last 50 minutes was about 25-30 minutes longer than I thought I would. But it felt like we’d never been away and the gaffer (Mike Walker) still talked a lot of sense, so it was good.
“We all swapped and updated numbers, caught up and that’s great for going forward.”
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