Paddy Davitt: Alex Tettey fit and firing spells danger for the Championship
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Alex Tettey's indestructible streak will be vital this season, suggests chief Norwich writer Paddy Davitt in the latest part of a summer series.
Alex Neil labelled Alex Tettey as 'one-of-a-kind' in his Norwich City ranks last season. That statement alone underlines why the City chief made it clear to the Norwegian international he can forget a summer Carrow Road exit.
Tettey is deemed far too important to the club's prospects of an immediate Premier League return. The 30-year-old has given the best years of his career to the Canaries since he arrived from Rennes in 2012.
His first tour of the second tier was clearly a culture shock, given the toll it took on his body, but second time around Tettey knows exactly what to expect and his pivotal role.
Given Norwich will largely be on the front foot, as Neil strives to reconnects with his attacking philosophy in a less demanding environment, City need the insurance the combative midfielder brings to lessen a vulnerability to the counter-attack.
Neil is right; there is no-one better at his disposal to screen a back four and break up play. The mind wanders back to a 2-0 Championship home win against Wolves in February 2015 when Tettey's disruptive instincts proved so successful in cutting the supply lines to Benik Afobe Wanderers' boss Kenny Jackett admitted he had to alter both his personnel and approach at the interval that day to try and limit the City man's influence.
Norwich have the creative intent and players who possess a full range of passing to hurt opponents at this level, but Tettey's offers the energy and the dynamism. He is a vital ingredient in Neil's quest to find the right midfield blend.
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Unquestionably, his workload will have to be managed. Such is the high intensity nature of Tettey's game, the acreage he covers and the honesty of his endeavours, the weekly grind and detrimental effect on the Norwegian's body must be carefully monitored.
Tettey is one of those players in this Norwich squad you only truly appreciate when he is out of the side. That season-ending ankle injury suffered against Chelsea in March felt like a major blow but in the context of what lies ahead, both the player and his employer may reap the benefit.
Tettey underwent successful surgery and lengthy rehab but returns for pre-season after a lengthy break from the daily exertions of playing, training and recovery. That freshness is a valuable commodity Neil will seek to harness from the Championship kick-off.
Momentum is everything, particularly for a club who have endured the damaging impact of relegation, and a fit and firing Tettey can be an early catalyst for change.