City report card: How does Pukki fly under the radar?

Teemu Pukki of Norwich with the match ball and Norwich Head Coach Daniel Farke at the end of the Sky

Teemu Pukki and the boss, Daniel Farke, who said last season his striker was the best in the Championship - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

There’s one constant about Norwich City - Teemu Pukki.

Perhaps it’s not wise to shout from the tree tops just how good Pukki is for fear of alerting those who were looking over the top of the radar when he somehow slipped underneath it. 

His most recent stats – 26 goals in 39 Championship starts - should make it impossible for him to be ignored. 

But he’s no blond-mopped midfielder, no darting right back with England ambitions, nor a flamboyant Argentine midfielder who has outgrown Norwich City. 

He’s a 31-year-old from Finland who, as his countrymen say, possesses sisu - a Finnish word which most struggle to define, but which essentially describes an inner strength and determination to succeed. Pukki has sisu. He doesn’t need much else. 

Pukki scores goals – and he makes them too. His involvement with City’s best work is vital: the glory game isn’t part of his agenda – the ball goes to the person best placed to score. How many times have you expected him to shoot for goal, only to see him pass to someone in a better position? 

That’s what you get with Pukki – a genuine team player, who puts to bed that lazy description of all goalscorers as greedy. Some are – but the best share it around. 

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Pukki is usually deployed as a lone striker – which is where his off the ball work comes into its own. His positional sense to receive a pass is excellent. He holds the ball up well, but, conversely, is adept at controlling and shooting.  

Teemu Pukki of Norwich scores his sides 6th goal against Huddersfield

Teemu Pukki scores goal number six from the penalty spot to complete his hat-trick in the 7-0 thrashing of Huddersfield - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

The way he plays on the shoulder of the last man is helped by opponents playing a high line – which is something City can expect more of in the Premier League season. 

You sense there is an awful lot of admiration for Pukki within the footballing corridors of power at Carrow Road. Model professionals don’t grow on trees – and when you consider he came to Norfolk on a free transfer it tends to make you appreciate how incredible a signing he has been. 

The man who perhaps knows best of all is Daniel Farke – here’s what he had to say about Pukki after the 3-1 win at Birmingham in February, when his striker scored twice. 

Teemu Pukki of Norwich scores his sides 2nd goal at Birmingham

Teemu Pukki scoring City's second at Birmingham in February - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

“I think he was unplayable during the whole game. They had problems controlling his movement and he created a lot,” said Farke. 

“Teemu for me is the best player and the best striker in this league. 

“He is selfless – it’s his workload in terms of pressing and winning balls back, but also how he delivers. 

“He is always there with a crucial goal – with the opener, 1-0 in the last four games, three times he has scored the first goal. 

“He’s not the guy who scores in an easy 7-1 with a back heeler – he is there when it counts.” 

And that’s the magic of Teemu Pukki. Always there, never a glory hunter, always a team player. 

Just a man with sisu. 

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