DOWELL: Fast food, Madders and a new home from home with City
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Norwich City’s capture of Kieran Dowell from Everton met with widespread approval from Canaries’ fans. Paddy Davitt caught up with the midfielder on the club’s pre-season tour to discover the feeling appears to be mutual.
Kieran Dowell was greeted on arrival at Colney by a picture of himself celebrating England’s victorious age group World Cup win in 2017. But Dowell is not one for living in the past.
That huge freeze frame of a landmark moment in the life of the young Liverpudlian adorns one of the walls at his new club’s training base. It is an image designed to inspire, to show what is possible with talent, hard work and dedication.
For the 22-year-old it might also act as a reminder of the vagaries of his profession.
Feted from a young age as he progressed through Everton’s fabled academy, he made his full Premier League debut at the age of 18 against City on the final day of the 2016 top-flight season.
Who could have foreseen that would prove to be Dowell’s one and only Premier League start for his boyhood club? A series of loan spells across a number of Championship postings veered from light to shade.
But all with the common thread that Dowell never quite knew what the future held. Now he does. He is a Norwich City player, and he has a head coach who needs no persuasion to trust young players.
“I was made up to get the move and I definitely feel this is a place I can kick on in my career,” he said, speaking from the club’s German tour base as the pre-season planning moves through the gears. “I was buzzing to get a move to Norwich. I have had mixed experiences on loan but now I am settled and at a place where the people have a real vested interest in trying to improve you.
“It has been a tough but enjoyable start. A full week in England and now over here playing games in Germany. But there is also everything else that comes with a move, in terms of getting settled.
“When you are on loans then you are looking for a temporary base but now I am here it is about moving into a house. It is a long way from Liverpool so you won’t be able to nip home.”
Prompt Dowell for any previous connection to Norfolk and it produces this gem of an anecdote.
“We came here with England Under-21s when they played at Carrow Road. I remember training at Colney and Madders (James Maddison) took us to Nandos,” he joked. “But the morale is really high. I think the lads who were here last season with how it ended have put that behind them. This is about the future now and looking forward.
“The morale around the camp is great. Probably helped by the fact which both Stuart and Daniel said to me when I was coming here that whatever division the club is in the style and how they try to play will not change.
“That makes things easier going into a new season.
“Speaking to the lads they said there was so many games in the Premier League that could have gone either way, but they were unreal the year they won the league.”
Dowell may get another chance to impress this evening when City play Dynamo Dresden. But the youngster is taking nothing for granted, despite his goal and assist earlier in the week against SC Verl.
“A top club in the Championship needs depth to foster that competition. You know if you have a bad game or a bad spell there is a player who can come in. That is healthy,” he said. “I feel I have taken to it quite well.
“These games are all about testing yourself. We have a top set of lads and it is even better to come away into a 24/7 environment because you get to know them even better.
“The Championship has so many games and that means you need to be fit and firing.
“It is a really competitive league, we all know that, and it throws up surprises. Leeds have finally gone up so for me there will be a lot of clubs who feel they can get in the mix for promotion.”