SIX THINGS: 4 – Question of trust for one of Norwich City's 'own'
PUBLISHED: 07:25 14 May 2018 | UPDATED: 07:25 14 May 2018
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Our Six Things Summer Special moves on to the tricky question of who will keep goal for the Canaries next season – Chris Lakey hazards a guess
Sons don’t always find it easy to follow in father’s footsteps, especially when there is scrutiny on their sporting genes.
Angus Gunn was, therefore, on something of a hiding to nothing when he came to Carrow Road last summer: son of City legend Bryan Gunn, his every move would be scrutinised, especially if it was a missed cross, a dropped catch or, worst of all, an air kick.
But before you could shout “Mine!”, young Angus had moved to the front of this particular penalty area and was being judged on his own merits, no one else’s.
Angus may end up with only one season on his Norwich City CV, but it will be one in which he held his head high. He’s one of our own, chanted the fans of the Norwich-born player, albeit on loan from Manchester City.
Let’s assume, though, that Gunn won’t be back – Manchester City will surely want to step up his education and a Premier League move seems a good bet. So what next?
City currently have four keepers on their books – Michael McGovern, Remi Matthews, Paul Jones and Aston Oxborough.
McGovern was number two last season, but would surely depart if someone wanted him – his salary is not what City can afford for someone who doesn’t play in the first team. And while goalkeepers don’t age as quickly as outfield players, McGovern is 33.
Matthews was on loan at Plymouth, where he excelled, and surely comes back challenging for the number one position. Loans are meant to make the man – it appears this one has made Gorleston-born Matthews.
Jones has been here two years, but has rarely been seen: he’s been on loan at one of his former clubs, Exeter City, since January but hasn’t started a game there. His contract is up this summer and by the end of the month he is more than likely to be “ex-Norwich City”. He is not in the equation for next season.
Oxborough has just signed a new deal which will keep him at City until 2020. The academy prospect, who has just turned 20, has worked with the first team – hard enough you’d guess, to earn that deal. A loan move is more than likely and you’d guess City won’t be short of takers to toughen him up for when he returns.
What all good teams have is a good spine, and that begins with a good goalkeeper. Very few successful teams have had a weak link between the sticks and if City are to challenge they will need strength at number one. Remember John Ruddy?
Matthews, though highly praised for his south coast efforts, is untried at this level. Ditto Oxborough, obviously.
Do you take a gamble, of sorts, with Matthews? Do you try McGovern (which seems unlikely)? Or do you shop for another Gunn-type loan and hope you get lucky again?
Loans aren’t cheap nowadays and for what City may decide they can afford, they may not end up with anyone noticeably superior to Matthews.
Combine the economics plus Matthews’ quality and you may have the answer... although don’t be surprised to see other movement in the goalkeeping ranks.