David Wagner is well and truly at the wheel. 

Everything the endearing American-German has touched so far seems to have turned to Norwich City gold, from masterminding that memorable mauling at Preston to so visibly embracing the connection with adoring fans far and wide. 

Wagner’s visit to The Nest on Wednesday further outlined his admirable early commitment to the club’s values, visiting a group of supporters recently diagnosed with dementia in an event that was so much more than a mere publicity stunt. 

And he even appears to be immersing himself in his salubrious city surroundings too, popping into a pub on Sunday to toast that remarkable trip to Deepdale just 24 hours earlier.

As one of the jubilant near-1,000 City fans to have travelled to Wagner’s first league clash, it’s difficult to recall a more joyous away game since before the pandemic struck. 

The Pink Un: David Wagner - the only way is upDavid Wagner - the only way is up (Image: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd)

Dean Smith oversaw a handful prior to his December demise - Watford in the Premier League and Blackpool, Birmingham and Sunderland this season spring to mind - but none was infused with the feel-good factor and footballing fluency that stunned the shellshocked Lilywhites in Lancashire.

This was a victory that had Wagner’s high-tempo, high-pressing and high-intensity fingerprints plastered all over it from start to finish, requiring little more than three days on the Colney ‘grass’ – clearly and enjoyably, one of his favourite English phrases - to implement his philosophy and get City back firing on all Championship cylinders. 

Of course, it’s only one game and yes, the prospect of promotion still seems a long way away, but if we can’t dare to dream on days like Saturday - one I’d place in the top tier of recent away games with the likes of Leeds, Sheffield Wednesday and Swansea in that storied season of 2018/19 - then quite frankly, when can we?

Both on and off the pitch, Wagner is already embodying everything that makes this brilliant club so special, hitting all the right notes in his press conferences and, on last weekend’s initial evidence, backing it up on the pitch. 

But even if his first game had not been such a searing success, you get the feeling that the former Huddersfield boss has already got fans firmly on his side after his immediate injection of charisma, positivity and energy at Carrow Road.

In many respects, that may have been inevitable given Wagner’s naturally more extroverted and emotional demeanour than his predecessor. 

But nevertheless, it’s difficult to remember a City manager making such a universally well-received impression so early on in his tenure.

Wagner clearly just gets it, a manager who knows what the fans want and appears determined to deliver as he embarks on his first job in English football since leaving the Terriers back in 2019.

It was easy to sneer at the appointment as ‘lazy’ owing to his previous relationship with Stuart Webber in West Yorkshire and, although it is always more of an adventure unearthing a hidden managerial gem – like we did with Daniel Farke – there’s no disputing Wagner’s track record and ability to engineer the sort of football City fans were craving.

Last Saturday’s showing ticked all the early boxes and, coupled with his equally important exploits away from the pitch this week, Wagner is quickly capturing the hearts of the collective Canary nation.

While he will ultimately be judged on results, modern fans’ increasingly-demanding desire for an aesthetic, identifiable style of play and the role of social media in amplifying managers’ movements mean their broader influence plays a significant role in shaping their image.

And both of those recent shifts chime perfectly with Wagner’s way of operating, so clearly a gregarious character and a man who insists on his team playing a certain way.

Almost 3,000 rejuvenated fans will be making the trip to Coventry for Saturday’s lunchtime kick-off and, speaking as one of them, the prospect of what City will serve up after another week under Wagner’s auspices is nothing short of tantalising.

But more broadly, Wagner just keeps looking like more of a natural fit as each day passes, embedding himself in the club’s community ethos and adapting to his new surroundings with a seriously impressive ease.

Wagner’s at the wheel both on and off the pitch – and I can’t wait to stay on and experience the ride.