Tampa Tour: Smells like team spirit to City legend as Florida tour continues
- Credit: Keir Magoulas/Visit Tampa Bay
Canaries legend Adam Drury is among the touring party in Tampa and spoke to David Freezer about just how impressed he has been with the Norwich City class of 2018.
Adam Drury is a man who knows a thing or two about what it takes to get promoted, having managed it three times as a Norwich City player, and he likes the vibes coming from the squad currently leading the Championship table.
The legendary left-back is touring Tampa with the Canaries this week alongside former team-mate Grant Holt in their role as ambassadors, ensuring the fans and sponsors travelling with the club are enjoying their time in Florida.
That has allowed the 40-year-old to get a feel for the mood around Daniel Farke's squad, as they enjoy some warm weather training and team bonding during the international break.
'There will be games when they perhaps don't have as much of the ball as they want, because they're very possession based, but they've got that grit and determination about them, they're in it together, which is a big part of it,' Drury said. 'They're all good players but there's no individual superstars as such, whereas last year they had Maddison – and you'd still have him back because what a quality player he was – but teams realised everything went through him, whereas they don't have that this year.
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'They've got people scoring goals from all over the pitch, which is brilliant.'
Drury, inset, was promoted three times with City, as captain for the Division One title triumph of 2004 before playing his part in the League One title win in 2010 and subsequent automatic promotion to the top flight – leaving in 2012 after 361 appearances. As well as working as assistant manager to Jordan Southgate at Wroxham, where Holt is playing this season when he can as well, the former Canaries captain hosts fans in the Legends Lounge in the South Stand on match days – so has seen plenty of Farke's team.
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'I think there were games last year where they played really well, not all of them, but they just didn't score goals,' he continued.
'Some of the chances weren't being taken and everyone was saying 'they're just keeping the ball and not going anywhere', whereas this year they've brought Pukki in and he's been a revelation.
'They've brought in the young lads and they've been outstanding, it's kind of clicked. With that and the togetherness that you feel now for the games, doing what I do at the ground you get a feel for what the fans think and a good barometer of where people are at.
'That feeling now, like on Saturday went they went behind (during the 4-3 win over Millwall), the atmosphere from the stands was incredible. You almost got that impression that people believed they were going to turn it around or at least get a draw out of it, whereas if you go back earlier in the season it wasn't like that. So I think it's just clicked. They've got that thing now where they go and boss teams, it's been brilliant to watch.'
Drury is regarded by many City fans as the best left-back to play for the club, in defensive terms particularly, but he is loving the work of 20-year-old Jamal Lewis in his old position.
'He's been class,' he added. The game has changed, everyone can see that, you're expected now to be an attacking outlet and I think he is that.
'Him and Max Aarons – I wouldn't say he's surpassed Jamal because Jamal's done unbelievably well – but I think he's caught people by surprise as well, brilliant. They're both great to watch as well, really good.'
The tour has seen Drury and Holt take the touring party on visits to the homes of the Tampa Bay sports franchises, football club the Rowdies, ice hockey team the Lightning, baseball side the Rays and American football giants the Buccaneers.
'I've really enjoyed it. I've been here with all the sponsors and the investors and people like that, showed them around the ice hockey and American football stadiums, before watching the first team train,' Drury explained.
'The biggest thing I've got from it is the feelgood factor and how close everyone is. Being around the first-team squad as well, you get the impression of how everyone has come together in the last few months.'
On the stadium visits, he added: 'I was generally impressed, impressed with the way they do things.
'The hockey guys spoke about how grounded a lot of their lads are, they sort their own equipment, the skates, the sticks, each individual player looks after his own stuff – they don't let anyone else do it.
'Also, all the motivational stuff they've got on the walls, that was something big I took away from it, the quotes and all that sort of stuff was really good.'
All of which means Wroxham will have to manage without their assistant manager as they host local rivals Norwich United in the third round of the Norfolk Senior Cup tomorrow.
'They're without Holty as well but they know he can't do it all the time,' Drury concluded. 'Jordy Southgate is the manager and he asked me if I wanted to go along and he's a really good young coach, I actually believe he's got a chance of going far in the game, at the age of only 25.
'He's brought Simon Lappin in as well, who will help him, he's been suspended the last few weeks but he'll help. It's been really good and a real learning curve for me, adult football, and coaching is something I really enjoy.'