Norwich City could do with ... an Adam Drury in the transfer window

Adam Drury in typically determined mood.

Adam Drury in typically determined mood. - Credit: EDP Archant

Paul Heckingbottom tried. So did Jim Brennan at times, and Jason Shackell got stuck there once. Simon Charlton, Andy Hughes (makeshift if memory serves), Patrick Boyle (disastrously). Robert Eagle, Simon Lappin (occasionally), Mo Camara, Michael Rose and Steven Smith – all came and went.

Perhaps only Ryan Bertrand and Marc Tierney ever truly threatened the place of Adam Drury in the Norwich City first team. He was a shoo-in for the left-back position for years, and only appalling injuries and age ever opened the door for the two men who could even go close to laying claim to have been number one choice left-back.

Drury isn't far away from the scene nowadays in his role as a club ambassador, an ironic proximity considering he is the walking, talking, reliably performing example of what Norwich City need just now and what is so difficult to acquire during this or the summer transfer window.

Drury was a minimum seven out of 10 player, who did what he was asked and did it very well. His commitment was total, his loyalty never doubted – yes, he had a couple of offers during 11 years of service and well over 300 appearances, but decided he was happy to be playing for Norwich City.

That's another facet that is becoming more and more difficult to find. And just what Alex Neil needs his current players to prove they have.

His defence is a shambles. It looks for the world like a group of blokes who have been selected by the biggest boy in the school for a playtime game and blast the consequences – there aren't any.

But what they appear to lack more than anything is that almost abnormal commitment to the cause. Of course they are committed: but the very best go above and beyond the common or garden commitment. The commitment Drury used to show, the commitment which meant the regular appearance of bandages stemming the blood from another head wound, ice packs around bumps and bruises and sprains. Had Drury not been quite as committed his career may well have lasted a lot longer – but not at the level he played.

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Drury never went through the motions.

Not for one minute is this advocating Norwich go out and sign Adam Drury. They don't need THE Adam Drury, they need AN Adam Drury.

With the transfer window shutting on Monday and fans calling out for some help to be acquired as a return to the Premier League looks more and more unlikely, you wonder are there any Adam Drurys out there? There are, of course, but how the hell do you get them to sign for you? Any good and they will be wrapped up.

The problem is not identifying the talented player – he is out there and clubs have such sophisticated scouting networks that no one evades their radar. But that's where the issues begin. Can you sign him or are his club and his agent the equivalent of Butch and Sundance, fleecing you in your hour of need? Assuming cost and willing isn't an obstruction, you then have to know what you are signing. Not as a footballer but as a person – and the only way of doing that is by having him under your wing for a period of time. And then when you find out he isn't made of the right stuff, it's too late.

Whilst much of what footballers do is between the ears, much of what their value is can be counted not in goals, but in personality. If the body is able but the mind isn't willing you are on to a loser.

Remember Korey Smith? Not the world's most talented player, although no duffer by any means either. But Paul Lambert spotted him on the training fields at Colney in his first week here and saw something he liked. Lambert was, of course, adept at identifying the proper characteristics and realised he had one of 'his' players on the doorstep. Smith became a regular, and did a superb job. Again, seven out of 10, totally committed and loyal.

That's Alex Neil's problem: finding someone who is not just good enough, but has the mental strength to add that extra invisible facet to his game. City are in desperate need of character to get them on some sort of straight and narrow path.

At the moment, it looks like there are weak minds out there. That has to change.