Paddy Davitt: Why actions speak louder for Daniel Farke

Jamal Lewis, Max Aarons, Ben Godfrey and Todd Cantwell are growing up fast in Norwich City's first team 
Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Jamal Lewis, Max Aarons, Ben Godfrey and Todd Cantwell are growing up fast in Norwich City's first team Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Paul Chesterton

Daniel Farke is a fine conductor. But he is an even better talent spotter for Norwich City.

That full-time ritual on the pitch when the German is implored by City fans to lead the celebrations never gets tiresome.

The German was again asked what he makes of such terrace demands after plotting Newcastle United's downfall. As he replied, a relationship forged from early adversity, and framed by Championship title-winning success, is a two-way street.

The Canaries' boss demanded prior to the Newcastle game the home fans understood the degree of difficulty and lifted his side in the difficult moments against the Magpies, and the rest of the Premier League for that matter. They duly obliged, before Teemu Pukki cut loose with a landmark hat-trick.

Without wishing to downplay the Finn's pivotal role in a first top flight win of the season it marked another huge leap for a quartet of young men.

Todd Cantwell's darts from central midfield triggered the motions that brought Pukki his second and third goals.

Jamal Lewis and Max Aarons continued where they had left off at Anfield with a vibrant, high energy, high tempo attacking display that helped set the tone, operating in tandem with Norwich's clever midfielders in that opening period.

And when the pretty colours ran, and Newcastle threatened sporadically on the counter, there was Ben Godfrey moving through the gears with the grace and power of an Olympic sprinter to quell any trace of panic in behind.

Godfrey was arguably the pick of City's youth brigade at Anfield.

But all four look so ridiculously comfortable in the Premier League.

Granted, both Lewis and Aarons endured some rough moments in that opening blast on Merseyside but the manner they responded is a testament to the temperament as much as the talent - which is where we must bring Mr Farke back in.

Unearthing a gem or two is difficult enough. Sensing the right time to blood them in a harsh, unforgiving first team environment is another managerial skill entirely.

Sporting director Stuart Webber has spoken about Farke's bravery in the past.

It is the common link in the chain that produced the youngest Premier League starting XI since 1995 against the Champions League winners.

Lewis was given his chance at Birmingham City on Boxing Day 2017, when a defeat would have sucked the Canaries firmly into a relegation scrap.

Aarons was pitched into the white heat of an East Anglian derby tussle at Portman Road last season and has never looked back, while Godfrey rewarded both Farke's faith and intuition to convert him from a defensive midfielder to a central defender of unbounded promise.

Cantwell looks to have completed the circle.

A pre-season where he visibly appeared to have matured, helped no doubt by the resolution of his contract situation, created favourable conditions, but it still took Farke's brave judgement to unleash him against the Reds.

Norwich's head coach would be the first to deflect shimmering light in other directions. City's academy staff deserve fulsome credit for moulding raw prospects and pushing them in Farke's direction.

It needed Webber and his staff to shape a culture and define a philosophy which put youth development at its heart; borne in truth out of financial necessity. But it still requires a head coach to ignite that mix - to create a pathway, offer guidance and mentor unproven starlets.

Farke's public default position is to limit the praise he showers on players with long careers ahead of them. 'Quality is defined over a longer period,' is one of the familiar 'Farkeisms' for those who have watched this experiment grow from uncertain beginnings.

Yet there was a telling aside after Cantwell's latest impressive bow against the Magpies.

Farke believes in actions, not words, and if you are included in his starting XI then you are on the right path.

That would appear to place the onus firmly on the likes of Adam Idah and his cohort, who are currently bidding to make the same leap from the next wave just below the surface. Rest assured in Farke they have a coach willing to meet them halfway.

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