Paddy’s Pointers: Five observations from Norwich City’s 2-1 Championship win over Leeds United #thankswes
PUBLISHED: 17:06 28 April 2018 | UPDATED: 20:00 28 April 2018
©Focus Images Limited www.focus-images.co.uk +447814 482222
Our Norwich City correspondent Paddy Davitt delivers his verdict from Carrow Road
1. #thankswes - Ever the showman, even by Wes Hoolahan’s exalted standards this was a grandstand performance.
Captain for the day, a guard of honour and then centre stage to weave his magic one more time.
His spiralling shot off a Leeds’ defender appeared to take an age to loop over Bailey Peacock-Farrell and kiss one post before rolling along the line and kissing the other.
The eruption that greeted his final goal in green and yellow may have been felt around Norfolk.
Hoolahan looked skywards and clasped his hands together as he jogged back to the centre circle.
This was no divine intervention. This was a master at work. And there was the assist for Josh Murphy’s strike for good measure.
The ovation that greeted his exit will live long in the memory. So long, Wes.
2. Changing of the guard - This was Hoolahan’s day.
But there was a lovely moment in the midst of those orchestrated pre-match tributes when James Maddison was rightfully crowned player-of-the-year. Before he could reach the presentation party in the centre of the pitch, Hoolahan was the first to embrace the young man.
Given how much of a mentor the Irishman had been this season it felt like the final passing of the baton.
Maddison was one of the first to mob Hoolahan when he levelled the game up in the first half. Mutual appreciation.
3. Who assumes the mantle? - Not for Hoolahan but potentially his apprentice, who has come of age this season.
A summer of fevered speculation is inevitable around Maddison and where he will ply his trade from next August. Given the financial reality at Carrow Road it seems clear the underlying aim of any recruitment inwards will be to also generate a surplus from sales.
Maddison is the prized asset. Should the interest from the Premier League materialise and the pound signs prove irresistible for the club’s top brass then there will be a vacancy for another of City’s bright young things to move into the limelight.
Josh Murphy has the potential, so too Jamal Lewis but they will have to go some to emulate Maddison’s achievements during the past nine months or so.
4. Firing Gunn - Manchester City’s young keeper certainly has all the raw material to follow Maddison’s giddy trajectory.
But that’s the problem. He is the property of the Premier League champions.
The chants in support from the Barclay in the second half were on a par with the adulation lavished on Hoolahan. This is a romantic story that has lived up to the billing, after Gunn junior followed in the famous gloves of his father in these parts.
But whether he returns for a second tour of duty looks a long shot. His employers may feel a top flight loan is the next stage in his development.
If so, he has built his own Canaries’ legacy in a season where he arrived as a raw novice and leaves as an accomplished young goalkeeper.
5. All to play for - Norwich did the business. But so did Ipswich at Reading in a 4-0 romp. So it’s as you were going into the final weekend of Championship combat, with Norwich retaining a slender one point lead.
Daniel Farke reiterated again in the build up to Hoolahan’s swansong he is desperate to finish above the club’s East Anglian rivals.
In the grand scheme of things it might provide cold comfort for two rivals languishing in mid-table.
But given Hoolahan was never beaten by Town in a decade of service, it would be a fitting accessory in his absence at Sheffield Wednesday on the final game day next weekend.
• For the latest Norwich City news and opinion follow Group Football Editor Paddy Davitt on the following channels…