The changing face of Norwich City’s strike force

Grant Holt morphing into Ricky van Wolfswinkel.

Grant Holt morphing into Ricky van Wolfswinkel. - Credit: Archant

Norwich City boss Chris Hughton wants Ricky van Wolfswinkel to be his new leader of the pack.

Canaries' officials revealed earlier this week the club's record signing will inherit Grant Holt's number nine shirt for the new campaign and Hughton is confident the Dutchman can prove another inspirational figure in a new era for his evolving squad as he gears up for his first outing in green and yellow on the club's three-date US tour.

Holt plundered 78 goals in a City career that propelled the Canaries into the Premier League and earned him an unprecedented three consecutive player-of-the-year awards. Hughton insists van Wolfswinkel's similarly productive goal scoring spell at Sporting Lisbon was the perfect grounding to try and step into Holt's boots.

'If you look at where he came from with Lisbon, he played in a fairly young side, so for someone of Ricky's age to show that responsibility and those leadership qualities it shows he can be a focal point,' he said.

'Especially when you are a main striker in the team as he was there. They were reliant on the goals that he scored, but it was a wonderful record in the time he was there, and he proved he could adapt from his early days in Holland.

'That is what excites me and is why we are all looking forward to seeing him out there on the pitch.

'I don't believe with how tactical and with the sheer speed of the game nowadays that you can just be a goal scorer. First and foremost you have to a team player. His performances have shown a real good indication of that.

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'He wants to get in the box, he is somebody who wants to get forward, but in that lone role he can play it and with that comes a real responsibility.'

City have underlined their intent this summer with the expensive additions of van Wolfswinkel and fellow Holland international Leroy Fer headlining six permanent arrivals. The Canaries look set to make further additions before the close of the current window and Hughton insists they mean business.

'If you look at a club like Southampton last summer they brought in (Gaston) Ramirez for considerably more than what we paid for Ricky,' he said, with the Saints this time around shelling out again to lure Celtic's Victor Wanyama south. 'There are always players you can bring in for lesser money but it is getting harder because every club knows the value of the player they are selling.

'Certainly it is more expensive to buy here in England but you are finding the foreign clubs know the value of players and so look at bigger fees. I'd like to get everything done early but business tends to be done later because of the transfer deadline.'

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