Paddy’s Pointers: Five observations from Norwich City’s 3-3 Championship draw at Leeds United
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Our Norwich City correspondent Paddy Davitt delivers his snap verdict from Elland Road
1. Two faces - There may be other games that have merged into one long, inconsistent slog through the Championship for Norwich City this season but right now this is the one that should be dusted off whenever the curious want to know what the Canaries' 2016/17 labours were all about. Three goals to the good in a display of controlled, counter-attacking, clinical football. Then a lapse in concentration gave Leeds hope and made Garry Monk's half-time team talk so much easier. The standard dire inability to defend a set piece returned to allow Leeds more momentum before Pablo Hernandez's fine free kick equaliser. Then Steven Naismith's rush of blood forced the Canaries to defend desperately for six minutes of stoppage time. An Elland Road cruise had turned into an Elland Road rearguard action. Plain wrong.
2. Steven Naismith. The enigma - A sumptuous long range strike underlined Naismith has that extra touch of quality that should set him apart in the Championship. But the nasty, snarling tackle that earned him a late red card was a sour end to an impressive shift from the Scottish international. That, again, has encapsulated Naismith's frustrating Norwich career. Moments of promise but overall a sense of deep disappointment. There is no doubt within the right system he has the ability to influence matches at this level. Crucially, Stuart Webber has also pointed him out as one of the quality operators within the current ranks. That and his long Carrow Road contract may ensure Naismith has not played his final game in yellow.
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3. Set piece hell - The inevitability Leeds would mount a comeback sourced from set piece goals was clear for all those who have watched Norwich try to defend; particularly away from the more comfortable surroundings of Carrow Road. City appear to lack a collective sense of danger and prowess at winning individual aerial duels which has routinely contributed to an alarming concession rate away. It is now 47 and counting. But mercifully Norwich can now declare given this was the last time they will be tested away from Norfolk this season.
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4. Alan Irvine - The Scot is still waiting for his own personal future beyond QPR to be resolved. At 3-0 up there would have been plenty of Norwich fans willing to reconsider whether he could be a worthy successor on a permanent basis to Alex Neil. Irvine inherited a squad that appears unfit for purpose and the inconsistency prior to Neil's dismissal has continued unabated. But nevertheless, the blossoming of Alex Pritchard, the continued exposure of Josh Murphy and the first glimpse of James Maddison in a league game for Norwich are all big ticks in the positive column. Irvine is clearly a very good coach, his honesty in front of the media has also did him no harm. It would not be the worst decision to find a role for him in the new era.
5. Garry Monk - The Leeds head coach has been widely touted as one of those on Webber's shortlist. Whether that is any more than column inches will become clear in the weeks ahead. The young Englishman has done a fine job bringing some stability to the mad house that is Leeds United in recent seasons. He also underlined his coaching credentials at a higher level, in the early phase of his Swansea stint. Monk favours youth and high energy, high tempo endeavour. Qualities valued by Webber. It will be interesting whether this against-the-odds shift is an alluring job interview for the Canaries' new sporting director. Webber has already shown he is a man of action with the cull to the recruitment department and fresh reports emerging after the game on Saturday ex-Rangers scout Kieran Scott will join City as head of UK recruitment, with current Wolves' official Chris Badlan set to lead the Canaries' European network.