Norwich City Report Card: Last but not least, it’s the ones that got left behind

Four players who may have a big summer ahead. From left: Louis Thompson, Michael McGovern, Steven Naismith and Matt Jarvis.

Four players who may have a big summer ahead. From left: Louis Thompson, Michael McGovern, Steven Naismith and Matt Jarvis.

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Our final Norwich City end of season report card covers the ones that got away. MICHAEL BAILEY wonders who of the forgotten four will have a better 2018-19 season?

For some, the idea of playing enough football at Norwich City to earn a report card may appeal.

So what remains from our weeks of sifting through the Canaries squad?

We have the returning young loanees who will be desperate to continue their senior football education, be it here or elsewhere. Remi Matthews, Todd Cantwell, Ben Godfrey and – once fit again – Carlton Morris are the starting points and good luck to them all.

But more pertinently are the rather harshly labelled ‘leftovers’. Be it form, fitness or favour, theirs is a job that has proven hard for so many to complete. Not that any will be using that as an excuse.

Who would be a goalkeeper? To be any team’s custodian is a great role – but then there’s the back-up. The one that barely plays; who is trusted for a few games but never deemed a long-term option.

Michael McGovern played six times last season – five were starting for Northern Ireland; the other was City’s 4-1 League Cup win over Charlton.

City would gladly have the 33-year-old as their back-up next season. His experience and good character can be undervalued qualities. Yet McGovern knows what it is to play regularly.

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This time, the final year of his extremely decent City deal may not prove enough to keep him as back-up to a younger model.

The position is different for Steven Naismith but the thought processes could be the same – a 31-year-old forward who didn’t play for City after the same August Carabao Cup game.

Hearts want Steven Naismith back for a full season’s loan. City need to work out whether they’d be happy to save a small proportion of wages, or actually make use of a player whose character could be useful in an increasingly young squad.

Matt Jarvis also has one year left and a big hurdle to jump.

Most now assume he will never be fit enough to play for Norwich again; seeking blame for that is pointless. Yet come next summer, surely Jarvis needs to show something to encourage another club to take the plunge?

Last but emphatically not least is the midfield wildcard.

Louis Thompson’s second Achilles injury threatened to end his professional career. Come the summer, he has a real chance to show he is back in business – and also a true bonus option to Daniel Farke next season.

There’s no doubt everyone is routing for him – and he won’t be the only one.

For the latest Norwich City news and opinion follow Michael Bailey on the following channels…

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