Paddy’s Pointers: Five observations from Norwich City’s 5-1 tune up against Luton Town
PUBLISHED: 06:06 28 July 2019 | UPDATED: 15:54 28 July 2019
Our Group Football Editor Paddy Davitt delivers his Luton Town verdict after the Canaries’ 5-1 friendly cruise.
1. Deadly Drmic
Luton might not be Liverpool but the predatory instincts and the penalty box nous displayed by the Swiss free transfer at Kenilworth Road suggest City's recruitment strategy may have come up trumps again.
Drmic was in the right place at the right time for his first two goals.
They looked simple tap ins but it was the trigger move and the anticipation that went before which should not be overlooked. While his hat-trick goal was a superbly timed leap above the Luton defence, to plant a looping header over the home keeper from Patrick Roberts' corner.
Go back and look at Drmic's career path to Carrow Road and in his early 20s he was rated one of the best attacking prospects in the Bundesliga; a striker who moved for mega money. Injuries have played a massive part in checking a career that has still brought international recognition at the highest level.
Teemu Pukki cannot carry the attacking burden alone in the Premier League. Keep Drmic fit and healthy and there is a player with the cunning to make a decent contribution to City's goals tally.
2. Razor-sharp Roberts
Roberts has already revealed his incentive to be in Daniel Farke's plans for the Premier League opener at Liverpool. Merseyside family roots will make the opening night at Anfield extra special.
Roberts is certainly constructing a persuasive case for inclusion. There was the blemish against Schalke 04, when Farke felt obliged to point out his failure to halt a counter that led to the Germans' equaliser.
But on the opposite side of the ledger has been a productivity which has many relishing the prospect of City's head coach pairing him in tandem with Emi Buendia in a creative fulcrum. Luton afforded him generous amounts of time and space to showcase his passing range and dead ball delivery.
Two assists from corners, the wonderfully precise pass to Todd Cantwell, in the build up to Drmic's second, and a thumping hit from 20 yards to seal the rout.
The Manchester City loanee is a talent.
3. Double Top
Time will tell but by the end of this season Norwich City's two young full backs could emerge as established rather than just potential Premier League-class defenders.
The modern game places a high premium on athletic prowess and an attacking adventure which has transformed the position from days past. No longer is the full back's only job to keep an opposition winger in check.
Now they are expected to provide the width and the delivery to service those in forward areas. Max Aarons and Jamal Lewis both owe Luton a debt for their development but Norwich has been the perfect finishing school.
Both earned a first team shot in their teens under a head coach who positively relishes the challenge of placing his faith in raw talent. What marks these two out perhaps is their temperament.
Every challenge is taken with an air of assurance and a composure which borders the right side of arrogance they belong in the first team environment. They set the tone in the early goalscoring carnage at Kenilworth Road - Aarons teeing up Drmic for his opener - and took their leave after an hour.
Barring unforeseen injury, they will start a fresh chapter together at Anfield.
4. Decisions, decisions
Ben Godfrey sat out the majority of City's one-sided friendly at Luton until Grant Hanley felt his groin late on. Farke also delivered a positive latest fitness bulletin on Christoph Zimmermann's recovery from knee surgery after the game.
With Timm Klose getting a second run out under his belt in a week, after a delayed start to the pre-season action, things are beginning to simmer when it comes to who Farke opts to try and subdue Liverpool's attacking superstars. Godfrey made huge strides after cashing in on Klose's absence midway through last season.
But Klose has the Premier League experience, while Hanley is the combative leader who must feel he has plenty to prove himself after a similarly frustrating title-winning season on the margins.
Given the early part of pre-season was dominated by what looked a looming crisis at the heart of the Canaries' backline, it may well be one of the deepest parts of the squad when Farke eventually sits down and finalise his first Premier League line up.
5. Coming home
The last time Norwich's coaches and players were on the pitch at Carrow Road was that promotion-clinching night over Blackburn three months ago.
We'll gloss over the alcohol-fuelled lap of appreciation a couple of weeks later at the Russ versus Wes celebration game. Or last week's gentle open training session.
But Tuesday night should bring home to those in attendance, as well as on the pitch, the enormity of what was achieved. The final push to prepare for a Premier League season will bring a Serie A side to Norfolk who have qualified for the Champions League and reached the final of the Italian Cup.
Atalanta ruffled the established order in Italy last season and should provide a level of competition that can offer a much more exacting test than Luton provided. It is another chance for those who need minutes, like Klose and Buendia in particular, to test themselves against continental opposition.
It is also a chance as well for fans to see some of the flourishes to the surroundings as Carrow Road gears up for the big league.
As much as it is a chance to look forward, it also provides a chance to look back one last time perhaps.