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Paddy Davitt, EDP Sports Writer
Tuesday, January 8, 2013
Chris Hughton believes Norwich City midfielder Robert Snodgrass is on a par with the best free kick artists in the Premier League.
Snodgrass notched his fifth goal of the season in the FA Cup third round 3-0 win at Peterborough when he raced clear to slot underneath Bobby Olejnik, but the Scottish international again underlined his dead ball mastery at London Road.
Olejnik’s flying leap denied him in first half stoppage time at the end of a week when Snodgrass had also struck the woodwork with a 25-yard speciality in the Premier League defeat at West Ham. Hughton believes Snodgrass has now emerged as a major offensive weapon for the Canaries, after previously demonstrating his free kick prowess with strikes at Southampton, Swansea and West Brom.
“He is excellent,” said Hughton. “I thought his free kick at West Ham was in when he struck it, but at the moment it is also from distance that he is able to score. When you are a little bit closer to goal it is more of an up and over the wall and he has that ability as well, but he is also striking them well from further out. Sometimes that is a confidence thing. I would say he is more confident now that at the start of the season. You get spells like that and he is looking a real threat and for us it is a valuable asset to have. I leave it up to the players who have to make the decision when they are on the pitch, depending on where the ball is. It is all about quality but if it’s on the right, then Pilky (Anthony Pilkington) has that quality as well. The interesting one is with Javi (Garrido) who I think when he was at Man City scored a few, but right now it would be difficult to get Snoddy off them.”
Snodgrass’ importance to Norwich’s cause was underlined by his inclusion in a much-changed starting line up at Peterborough.
“I made a decision to make some changes but he is one I know can play games. He is a fit lad,” said Hughton. “He just continues to show what good form he is in. I think he is playing consistently and he has added some goals and assists to his game, but on the day I thought he was part of an all-round good team performance.
“I had to make a tough decision whether I started him or not. What was important was that players had an opportunity to play, but we also showed some respect to what we have at the club and the competition by playing the regulars. That was the balance.”