When Gabby Sara boarded his flight from Brazil to England he might have had a different script in mind for the first six months of his Norwich City career. 

The Canaries’ big-money summer signing was also carrying the burden of being the club's first foray into an exciting new south American market. 

It spoke of bold frontiers and another ambitious bid under Stuart Webber to find hidden gems in territories the majority of their league rivals would not have even considered. 

To be fair, the later arrival of Marcelino Nunez from the same continent may have eased some of the pressure on Sara’s shoulders. 

But the allure of that Brazilian passport, and all that you associate with football talent from his country, meant he had plenty to live up to. 

What he, or the Canaries, had no control over was the fact he was still in the process of a lengthy rehab following ankle surgery that ended his Sao Paulo career effectively in March. 

That sense of a man playing catch up has defined his opening spell at Carrow Road. Dean Smith rightly wanted to let him recover, and then gently ease him into the fray.

For a 23-year-old swapping Brazil for Birmingham or Blackpool and the hurly burly of the English Championship there was much to take on board. But add the fact he had to watch from the sidelines as Nunez made an instant impact and it perhaps came as no surprise Smith tellingly revealed the disappointment at being overlooked when he was fit for duty was always etched all over Sara’s features. 

But the signs were clear, prior to the World Cup shutdown, he is not only physically ready but had started to mould his game to the unique demands of the Championship.

A first goal in the 3-2 home defeat to Preston underlined his natural goalscoring instincts, and his ability to make those perfectly-timed runs into the opposition penalty area. 

There was another prime example of his intelligence, cunning and hunger for goals in the 3-1 home win over Stoke in late October. 

But it was arguably his double act in tandem with Max Aarons in the away victory at Rotherham United, just before the break, that felt like Sara’s watershed moment. 

Even if it was a display that highlighted again this is a player who operates on the edge. There are moments of genuine quality to how he manipulates a ball and exploits space. But there are also rough edges.

A sloppy square pass deep in his own half afforded the Millers a chance to level, after his spirit of adventure and athleticism had earlier sparked Kenny McLean’s opener. 

But there was a strong response from Sara, and his team mates, capped by a swift reply from Aaron Ramsey. Defeat to Middlesbrough may have followed at Carrow Road but Sara again looked at ease in his surroundings.  

Like a few of Smith’s midfield options there is still some debate where he can inflict maximum damage on the pitch. He arrived with the reputation as a ball playing but combative midfielder who could fulfil a number of roles.

Smith has, in the main, tended to use him in more advanced areas of the final third, but a deployment on the right at Rotherham offered a different dimension. 

A couple of league goals in 15 appearances is a solid if less than headline-grabbing start. But given his delayed introduction it is reasonable to expect he will deliver more dominant statistics over the second portion of his debut season in England. 

The mind wanders to how fellow imports like Mario Vrancic and Marco Stiepermann needed that first lap of the track in England to understanding the requirements before really coming to the fore.

Norwich’s pursuit and capture of the rangy Sara tells you they feel this is a player more than capable of playing at a higher level.

Sara himself has made it clear the Championship is not the extent of his ambition. He wants to be part of that Brazilian fraternity who light up the Premier League and, who knows, one day pull on the famous jersey of his national side.

But right now his challenge is to become an integral part of Smith’s midfield. To do that, we need to see a player capable of consistently influencing games this season. The jury for now must remain out.