Paddy’s Pointers: Five observations from Norwich City’s 1-1 Championship draw at Ipswich Town
PUBLISHED: 14:16 02 September 2018 | UPDATED: 07:58 03 September 2018
Our Norwich City correspondent Paddy Davitt delivers his verdict from Portman Road
1. The kids are alright
Make no mistakes, Norwich were in deep trouble when Gwion Edwards’ deflected shot beat Tim Krul in the midst of a sustained home barrage just after the interval.
With Timm Klose forced off through injury and Ben Godfrey on in his place, City’s backline was stuffed with youth and precious little experience.
Max Aarons and Jamal Lewis, to a lesser extent, were having to learn on the job in a raucous bear pit of a Portman Road that sensed an end to the long march for an East Anglian derby win.
Yes, City had to ride their luck to emerge unscathed but the manner of Moritz Leitner’s composed finish was outshone by the character, resilience and bravery from a core of young men visibly growing after a week that brought League Cup progress and now a derby day to remember.
2. Hail Hanley
City’s captain was a one-man barricade in the eye of the second half storm. Not only was he the only experienced voice in a youthful backline in front of Krul, he led by example with a series of brave blocks at some cost to his own personal safety.
Daniel Farke said recently his injury-disputed pre-season may have hindered the quest for a consistent seam of performances. But this was Hanley at his talismanic best.
When his club needed him most, on the biggest day of the season for supporters, he stood tall. Fitting perhaps in the week that saw the departure of Russell Martin, Hanley is a worthy successor as captain and leader.
3. Flipping Farke
There was two different aspects to City’s bold approach at Portman Road which might serve to counter the feeling among a section of Canaries’ support Farke’s passing philosophy is too pedestrian and too predictable.
One was in the starting line up that saw a first league start for Emi Buendia in a midfield that included the pace and thrust of Onel Hernandez.
Plus the bravery to hand Aarons a league debut on the opposite flank to Lewis, who looked a positive veteran in comparison to this teenage team mate.
That was a bold call when the clamour to pack your side with experience for a unique game may have proved stronger. Reinforced when Godfrey replaced Klose at the interval.
The second facet was in the noticeable willingness to go long and early to exploit the threat in behind of genuine pace in wide areas.
Leitner was deployed in a deeper, quarter back role to aid the plan. It was flexible and pragmatic.
A side many City fans would like to see more.
4. Tiger Timm
Portman Road must evoke painful memories for Klose.
The cultured, freshly recalled Swiss international admitted his first brush with a Daryl Murphy inspired Town earlier in his Norwich career was a bruising experience.
Klose is a centre back with far fewer rough edges than many in the Championship. The physical aspect comes less easier to the 30-year-old.
But against Leeds and until suspected concussion cut short his latest return to Suffolk, Klose has appeared to embrace that personal duel, the aerial challenge and the desire to dominate your direct opponent. If you want a centre back to run through a brick wall for you, then pick up the phone to Hanley.
Farke will hope, however, once the full extent of a what he labelled afterwards a ‘sore head’ becomes clear it will not keep him out beyond the international break. Now the distraction of a potential return to Germany has passed for the foreseeable, he has the chance to really stamp his authority on this City line up.
5. Press pause. Looks who back in town
Norwich City may enjoy rather than endure the international break now after a Portman Road comeback but there is an eye-catching fixture at Carrow Road. England Under-21s head to Norfolk for a key European Championship qualifier.
It may well be re-packaged as a chance for fans in these parts to give James Maddison and Angus Gunn the send off they deserve for their efforts in green and yellow last season.
Both have made their move to the Premier League but with City finishing the derby with Aarons, Godfrey and Lewis all on the pitch it underlines talent will get a chance to shine under Farke.
Then it is up to them to grasp it in the manner both Gunn and Maddison did.
Aarons’ first call up to the England Under-19 for their tune up games ahead of qualifiers later in the year is another positive signal.