Paddy’s Pointers: Time machines, boxing rings and a double dose of Ben for Norwich City at Luton Town
PUBLISHED: 11:42 26 July 2018 | UPDATED: 13:00 26 July 2018
Norwich City did the business at Kenilworth Road. Paddy Davitt reflects on the big talking points.
1. Where we are going, we DO need Rhodes
Forget the not so oblique reference to a classic film series.
What Daniel Farke would give to be able to go back in time a few minutes to Jordan Rhodes’ coolly taken penalty to put Norwich 2-0.
Rhodes showed again, in a first half cameo cut short by an ankle injury that now has every City fan crossing their fingers that it proves only a temporary interruption, he could be the missing link up top for the Canaries.
Not just the goal threat but the intelligence to source space around defences and link with deeper team mates.
Teemu Pukki was pushed further forward after he departed and took his goal well but the Finn is a different type to the Sheffield Wednesday loanee in that key role of attacking spearhead. We await the outcome of those scans.
2. Mighty Marshall
Farke labelled Ben Marshall’s outing at Kenilworth Road as something of a breakthrough display.
The former Wolves man has been recruited as a genuine right back option but looked to be finding it difficult to adapt in the early part of pre-season.
His new head coach attributed that to the gruelling workload and the physical demands on this squad to build that core fitness for the campaign ahead. But the width he offered in attacking areas and then, crucially, the quality and composure was a marked feature of City’s Luton friendly victory.
His corner led indirectly to Grant Hanley’s opener. The cute feint earned the spot kick for Rhodes and his near post cross was tucked away by Pukki to seal the win. When the Canaries get on the front foot this season and Marshall is able to operate in advanced areas, there looks a profitable supply line.
3. Big Ben
Godfrey, this time. One detects an interesting shift this summer in the perception of one of Norwich’s brightest young talents.
Rewind 12 months ago and the 20-year-old was being schooled in a pre-season tussle at Stevenage that led Farke to admit Godfrey had been in tears after the game after failing to impress at right back.
The young man was immense at Shrewsbury Town in their run to Wembley not once but twice. Yet Farke clearly feels he has the physical attributes and, intriguingly, the composure in possession to be a frontline central defensive option.
Hence why the head coach sanctioned loan moves for Marcel Franke and Sean Raggett. That is a big call and also a testament to Godfrey’s maturity. The raking diagonal pass for Marshall to pick out Pukki to score Norwich’s third goal at Luton was a thing of beauty.
Yes, it is pre-season, but Godfrey has impressed his head coach. Now the balancing act is to ensure he gets the game time to continue that development.
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4. Coming to the ring. Grant Hanley
There was a telling interlude just prior to kick off at Kenilworth Road when the talisman defender was quite literally bouncing around on the pitch as if he had just climbed through the ropes.
There was a look of intent and a distinct feeling from his body language Hanley was desperate to get his pre-season underway, after Farke erred on the side of caution in Germany following an early summer hamstring issue.
Hanley does not need the armband to be a leader in this group. His performances speak loud and clear.
One might not have expected his first meaningful contribution to come in the opposite penalty area, with a close range finish opening the scoring. But it was telling only after he was wisely withdrawn at the interval that Luton started to enjoy any semblance of aerial superiority in front of Tim Krul.
5. What next for Remi?
In all probability another loan stint. Farke and sporting director Stuart Webber have both reassured the City academy product he can become the club’s number one in time. But that time is in the future.
With the Championship kick off looming into view, and Krul available, it was the correct decision for Norwich City.
Whether it is the correct decision for Matthews depends on the lad himself and finding the type of loan option that allows him to flourish as he did at Hamilton and Plymouth previously. At 24, the time for development football and the odd occasional cup outing has long since passed.
Matthews’ only realistic chance of eventually becoming Norwich’s number one is to go and prove to those who matter he has the all-round game.